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20 April - COVID-19 News update

20 Apr 2020 4:43 PM | Tim Reynolds (Administrator)

COVID-19 selected update and news snippets for Monday, 20 April 2020.

Sciensano update of 20 April. 1 487 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Belgium over the past 24 hours of which 238 (16%) were in Brussels. To date, a total of 39 983 confirmed cases have been reported in Belgium with 4 109 (10%) cases located in Brussels.

In the past 24 hours, 232 patients with COVID-19 have been hospitalised and 138 people left hospital. Between 15 March and 19 April, a total of 13 362 patients with COVID-19 have entered hospital and 8 895 people have left.

168 new deaths from COVID-19 in Belgium have been reported in the past 24 hours of which 28 (17%) were in Brussels. To date, a total of 5 828 deaths from the disease have been reported in Belgium of which 914 (16%) were in Brussels.

Read the full daily report (in French) here.

Belgium's coronavirus measures have been extended until at least 3 May and big public events, such as festivals, are cancelled this summer until 31 August. Brussels' Ommegang parade (1-4 July) is among the cancelled events. Costume makers in the workshops will instead be making face masks for front line workers. Tickets already purchased for the 2020 event will remain valid next year. The Meyboom, on 9 August, will go ahead but in a different form, according to Brussels mayor Philippe Close. 2020 will be the 712th edition of this UNESCO-recognised folk event, which has not missed a single year despite invasions and occupations of the city.

Belgium is now capable of carrying out more than 10 000 coronavirus tests per day. The new swab tests were developed by the COVID-19 research unit at ULiège. While Belgium has the capacity to carry out 10 000 tests a day, it is only doing about 6 000. Prime minister Sophie Wilmès says due to a shortage of lab personnel.

Federal police in Belgium have prosecuted 36 000 people so far for breaching the stay-at-home and social distancing rules since they were introduced in mid-March. More than half of the people caught by police were under the age of 30.

Citizens and companies are being asked to donate face masks and other personal protective equipment to nursing homes in Brussels. The appeal was launched by Brussels consultancy StP Communications to help alleviate the shortage of equipment in residential homes struggling to contain an increasing number of Covid-19 cases. 

Useful Links

Federal Government COVID-19 information

The Bulletin's COVID-19 webpage (updated daily)

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