The coronavirus death toll in Belgium has risen to 220 after 42 more fatalities were reported across the country, health authorities said on Thursday.
A total of 1,298 COVID-19 cases were confirmed over the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 6,235, according to a statement by the Federal Public Service of Health.
It said 536 people were hospitalized over the past 24 hours.
In a radio show, Health Minister Maggie De Block said Belgium’s National Security Council will convene on Friday to discuss further measures to stem the virus' spread.
Meanwhile, a Belgian company announced that it has developed a rapid coronavirus testing kit.
According to Coris BioConcept, the kit will be able to detect COVID-19 antigens from a person's breath, and the process will take about 15 minutes.
After first appearing in Wuhan, China, last December, the novel coronavirus has spread to at least 175 countries and territories, according to data compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.
The data shows more than 487,600 cases have been reported worldwide since last December, with the death toll above 21,500 and nearly 118,000 successful recoveries.
The World Health Organization this month declared Europe the new epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, and both Italy and Spain now have more fatalities than China.
*Writing by Busra Nur Bilgic Cakmak