Belgium could run out of beds in intensive care units in two weeks if the number of people in hospitals continues to grow at the current rate, an official said Monday, according to Reuters.
A country with 11 million inhabitants, Belgium has the second highest per capita infection rate in Europe, after the Czech Republic. The number of new cases doubled every 13 days and reached a peak of over 18,000 on 20 October, a almost tenfold increase from peak during the spring wave of the pandemic, writes agerpres.ro.
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The number of patients in intensive care units doubles every eight days – up to 757 on Sundays – while the total number of people hospitalized is 4,827.
Health Ministry spokesman Yves Van Laethem said at a press conference that Belgium’s 2,000-bed capacity in intensive care could be filled in two weeks if the current rate of increase in cases continues.
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“In the next four days, by the end of the week, we would have crossed the threshold of 1,000 ICU patients,” Van Laethem said.
“If this curve doesn’t change through our behavior, we’d reach 2,000 ICU patients in two weeks, our maximum capacity,” he added.
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The Brussels region, one of the most affected in Europe, has ordered the closure of all sports centers and cultural institutions on Saturday and the ban on driving has been longer since Monday.
Also on Monday, 590 people were hospitalized, as at the height of the first wave, in March-April.
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Last week, Belgium recorded a daily average of 1,288 new COVID-19 infections per 100,000 population. With a total of 10,810 deaths, it has one of the highest per capita death rates in the world.