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108 confirmed coronavirus cases in Belgium
As of this morning, there are 108 people sick with the coronavirus in Belgium. The total cases add up to 109, but Belgium’s first patient has recovered. Of the 108 current cases, 12 are in Brussels, 65 in Flanders and 31 in Wallonia.
Today marks the first day that the virus has been diagnosed in people with no link to Italy, which means it is spreading among the population. “This time there are cases with no clear links to other countries nor to someone who has travelled to another country,” said KU Leuven virologist Marc Van Ranst. “That signifies the beginning of a local circulation, which is more difficult to control. It is crucial that people who have tested positive remain in quarantine.”
Belgium is still in phase 2 of the three-phase Covid-19 because of the limited number of people who are sick. While many businesses are cancelling events, the schools will remain open and no government measures are being taken to limit mobility, such as is the case in Italy, where thousands of people have the virus.
Belgians in Tenerife hotel back home
The government continues to remind people to regularly wash their hands with soapy, warm water and sneeze into tissues that can be thrown away. Anyone who feels sick should call their personal physician first.
The 128 Belgians who were under quarantine in a hotel in Tenerife for the past two weeks, meanwhile, arrived home yesterday. None of them have tested positive for the virus.
“They have been monitored by both the Spanish and Belgian authorities,” said Sarah Sancin of TUI, the airline the Belgian passengers had booked for their holiday on the Canary Island. “They have all been declared safe to return home. They no longer need to be in quarantine in Belgium; everyone is in good health.”
Brussels Airlines has reported the cancellation of about one-quarter of their flights in Europe this month. The airline said that there were not enough sales to warrant flying with a full fleet. The cancellations affect flights until 28 March.
And mobile tents popped up next to the Saint-Jean Clinique next to the Botanique this week. Fitted with heating and electricity, they are serving as waiting rooms for people who need to be tested for the virus. This will keep them separated from the other patients, the clinic said. Other hospitals are taking similar measures for patients who need to be tested.
Photo: Kurt Desplenter