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More than 700,000 Belgians infected with the virus since its appearance

Belgium has recorded a total of 702,437 people infected with the new coronavirus since its appearance in the country, according to figures released by the Sciensano public health institute on Friday.

The first Belgian case was reported on February 3, 2020. The person was not showing symptoms.

To curb the spread of the new coronavirus, Belgium had imposed two lockdowns, the first of which began on March 18, 2020. Citizens were required to stay at home to avoid as much contact as possible, with the exception of close family. A curfew was also introduced on October 14, 2020. It will be in effect until March 1, 2021.

The COVID-19 vaccination campaign officially began on December 28, 2020, in Belgium.

To date, according to the latest provisional figures released Thursday by Sciensano, 243,412 people have already received their first dose of the Pfizer / BioNtech or Moderna vaccine. These are residents of nursing and care homes, as well as staff, healthcare professionals in hospitals, those over 65, the 45-65 age group with comorbidities and essential social or economic functions.

Despite all these efforts, the epidemiological situation in Belgium shows an upward trend in contamination. From January 19 to 25, an average of 2,210 new infections per day was reported by Sciensano. That’s a 12% increase on a weekly basis.

New admissions remain stable and even slightly drop by 1%. In the week of January 22-28, an average of 125 new admissions per day was reported by Sciensano.

Currently, 1,817 patients are hospitalized, including 323 in intensive care.

Belgium has so far recorded a death toll of 20,982 since the start of the COVID-19 epidemic.

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