COVID-19 selected news snippets for Wednesday, 22 April 2020.
Sciensano update of 22 April. 933 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Belgium over the past 24 hours of which 60 (6%) were in Brussels. To date, a total of 41 889 confirmed cases have been reported in Belgium with 4 229 (10%) cases located in Brussels.
In the past 24 hours, 263 patients with COVID-19 have been hospitalised and 432 people left hospital. Between 15 March and 21 April, a total of 13 797 patients with COVID-19 have entered hospital and 9 433 people have left.
266 new deaths from COVID-19 in Belgium have been reported in the past 24 hours of which 39 (15%) were in Brussels. To date, a total of 6 262 deaths from the disease have been reported in Belgium of which 980 (16%) were in Brussels.
Read the full daily report (in French) here.
The Belgian exit strategy from lockdown is taking shape. The Group of Experts in charge of Exit Strategy delivers its initial report today. The focus for Friday’s NSC meeting will mainly be on the socio-economic strategy. Unions and employers have been asked to draw up a restart plan for each sector. The National Security Council will probably present a timeline to offer companies perspective. The Friday meeting should also clarify the programme for the phased reopening of schools.
Minister Philippe De Backer guarantees the "highest standard for privacy" for the proposed corona app in Belgium. The application user terms will be set into federal laws, he says. As part of the exit from confinement, testing will also be essential to manage infected people and warn those with whom they have had contact, which will also require testing people with weak symptoms, he confirmed.
The Minister of Employment has tabled a plan for a new parental "Corona" paid leave (EUR 580 for a part-time job) to allow single parents who are telecommuting to take care of children.
Virologist Marc Van Ranst says he is not yet reassured by the declining figures in this corona epidemic. "Only with less than 100 hospital admissions per day, which is about one per hospital, will I sleep more peacefully."
According to Le Soir, nine out of ten workers want to continue teleworking one to three days a week after the easing of coronavirus measures.
Virologist Steven Van Gucht of the Crisis Center warns against infections that occur before the first symptoms of the coronavirus. He refers to a new Nature Medicine study: "About 44% of infections occur two days before the first symptoms appear".
The Royal Belgian Academies of Medicine has called for broader testing and wider follow-up to get out of lockdown. Anyone who has come into contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient and shows no symptoms himself will also have to be tested.
As part of the upcoming relaxation of the corona measures, the Risk Management Group wants general practitioners (GPs) to be able to test patients with flu symptoms from COVID-19 on a large scale from 3 May. "The GPs will be ready," reports the Belgian Association of Physician Syndicates. "We have to wait for the government."
Flanders, Brussels and Wallonia will jointly recruit 2,000 'corona detectives' to look for people who may be infected with the corona virus. These contact tracers must check the contacts of potentially infected people and encourage them to undergo a test. Those tested positive must be quarantined for two weeks. The measure should ensure that any relaxation of the measures does not lead to a new outbreak and subsequent lockdown.
Tour operator TUI Belgium has decided to cancel all of its air travel and TUI flights for one more week, i.e. until 17 May. Car trips and city trips are suspended until 10 May.
Flemish bus company De Lijn wants masks to be compulsory on public transport.
The Bozar arts centre wants to open the doors as soon as possible, its current exhibition by artist Keith Haring costs a lot of money. The director, Paul Dujardin, has a plan ready to open the centre as soon as possible.
The Ancienne Belgique will not organise “sandwiches in the Park” nor “Feeërieën” this year.
Federal Government COVID-19 information
The Bulletin's COVID-19 webpage (updated daily)