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Town in hardest-hit province has zero corona cases

18:52 02/04/2020

While Limburg has the most cases of coronavirus per capita than any other province in Belgium, its smallest town has not seen one person get infected. No one in Herstappe, in the far south of the province on the border with Wallonia, has been sick since the outbreak.

Of course, there are only 88 people living in Herstappe. But still, it appears to be the only municipality in the province that has escaped the virus. “That’s just fine with me, and I hope it stays that way,” said Herstappe mayor Leon Lowet.

It could easily become the town with the most infections, however. Only one person needs to get sick for that to happen, explains the mayor. “The average number of infections per 1,000 residents in Limburg towns is 0.15. One infection here, and we’d have the highest percentage of infections. So numbers don’t always tell you everything.”

Why the people of Herstappe have escaped infections is a mystery. Although Lowet notes that it’s a bit easier for the average Herstappernaar to stick to the measures in place to limit the spread of the virus.

“We’re a rural area,” he told VRT. “Everyone who lives here has a lot of space and larger gardens. I also have the impression that everyone sticks to the rules very well. There is little to no traffic in the village. And if you step into the street, you’ll find yourself completely alone.”

Photo: Yorick Jansens/BELGA

Written by Lisa Bradshaw