COVID-19 selected news snippets for Wednesday, 29 April 2020.
Sciensano update of 29 April. 525 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Belgium over the past 24 hours of which 75 (14%) were in Brussels. To date, a total of 47 859 confirmed cases have been reported in Belgium with 4 907 (10%) cases located in Brussels.
In the past 24 hours, 174 patients with COVID-19 have been hospitalised and 340 people left hospital. Between 15 March and 28 April, a total of 14 061 patients with COVID-19 have entered hospital and 11 283 people have left.
170 new deaths from COVID-19 in Belgium have been reported in the past 24 hours of which 12 (7%) were in Brussels. To date, a total of 7 501 deaths from the disease have been reported in Belgium of which 1 149 (15%) were in Brussels.
Read the full daily report (in French) here.
Recruitment of contact tracers in Flanders has been delayed and won’t be able to start on Monday 4 May. Flemish Minister of Health Wouter Beke wants to engage an external consultant for the recruitment and logistics of the project but there are problems with the public tender.
According to Philippe De Backer, around 15,000 PCR tests are now carried out every day in Belgium - comparatively more tests than neighbouring countries.
The Brussels government has released an additional EUR 22.5 million to support crisis measures in the welfare and health sector. Of this amount, EUR 10 million goes to the implementation of 'contact tracing' and EUR 8 million to protective material for primary care.
More flexible rules will be introduced for sickness benefits for the self-employed, says Minister of Health Maggie De Block.
Epidemiologist Pierre Van Damme repeats that mouth masks are used to not infect other people. "Cotton masks block sixty to seventy percent of all transmission."
The phases of the exit strategy have been outlined, but many things are subject to conditions. For example, the occupation of intensive care [beds] should drop to five hundred patients, says virologist Marc Van Ranst.
Reports of child abuse have doubled or even tripled at Child Focus since the start of the confinement Figures from the federal police show an increase by 30%.
Non-urgent interventions in hospitals will be resumed from Monday 4 May.
A new rapid test from Liège company ZenTech has been validated by the Federal Medicines Agency and can now be comercialised in Belgium.
In Belgium, more women are infected with the coronavirus than men, according to the latest figures from Public Health Institute Sciensano. Statistics also show that more men die than women. Women are genetically better equipped to resist most infectious diseases, explained the inter-federal spokesperson Covid-19 Yves Van Laethem.
The National Bank of Belgium will release figures of the first quarter later today.
Flemish employers' organisation (Voka) requests more clarity on the restart on Monday. No ministerial decree has yet been issued. Voka also calls for extending, from next week, childcare procedures to all parents who must return to their workplace.
Employees expect concrete information on the future of their work, the financial health of their organisation and the measures to be adopted after the crisis, yet a clear majority of workers is ill-informed about compensation in the event of telework.
Brussels government will build 40 km of new cycle paths to avoid too many people taking public transport.
The city of Leuven is considering a one-way street for pedestrians!
Coastal communes will continue their discussions today on how to organise tourism at the Belgian coast.
Coronavirus caused a peak in employee absenteeism in March: there were 70% more employees at home due to illness compared to February, according to a survey of HR services company Acerta at 32,000 companies.
Research by University of Gent shows that only 55.4% of Belgians now support corona measures compared to 80.7% at the start of the lockdown.
Belgian bishops want gradual resumption of church services.
The Museum of Central Africa in Tervuren estimates its losses due to the coronavirus at EUR 1 million.
In March, less fully compensated unemployment was recorded, but there was a record number of temporary unemployed.
Federal Government COVID-19 information
The Bulletin's COVID-19 webpage (updated daily)