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Belgium may need to return to full COVID-19 lockdown: Virologist

Belgium may need to return to full COVID-19 lockdown: Virologist

FILE PHOTO: A man sits at deserted Brussels' Grand Place before a nighttime curfew, imposed by the Belgian government as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in the country, in Brussels, Belgium Oct 19, 2020. (REUTERS/Francois Lenoir)

BRUSSELS: Belgium could be returning to full lockdown if there is no reversal of the surge in COVID-19 infections and hospital admissions, a senior Belgian virologist said in a newspaper interview on Tuesday (Oct 20).

"We would then have to consider even more restrictive measures, which could resemble a lockdown like the one imposed in March and April," Yves Van Laethem told La Derniere Heure.

Van Laethem, who addresses national news conferences on the COVID-19 situation, said only an eventual vaccine or effective treatment would overcome the pandemic.

As cases surge again in Europe, Ireland imposed some of Europe's toughest COVID-19 constraints on Monday, while Wales is set to begin a two-week "fire-break" lockdown on Friday.

Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke said on Sunday that the Belgian capital Brussels and the southern region of Wallonia were "close to a tsunami", with a health situation worse than anywhere else in Europe.

He said a tsunami would mean authorities had lost control of the situation, meaning all non-COVID healthcare procedures would need to be postponed.

READ: Global COVID-19 cases surpass the 40 million milestone

READ: British COVID-19 testing adviser calls for 'circuit-breaker' lockdown

The country of 11 million people reported on Monday a daily average of 7,876 new infections in the week to Oct 15, with an average 252 hospital admissions and 30 deaths.

At the peak of the spring coronavirus wave at the end of March, more than 600 were admitted to hospital in one day in Belgium.

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Source: Reuters/kv

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