Yves Van Laethem, Belgium’s spokesman for the fight against dengue fever, warned that unless the Belgians changed their behavior, the intensive care unit could reach 2,000 patients within 15 days.
At a press conference on Monday, Van Laethem said the country’s 1,000-strong bed had been used, with a total of 1,250 units to be occupied this weekend. He added that both hospitalization and intensive care are doubled every eight days.
In an interview with state-run RTBF television on Monday, Van Laethem said a decision would be made on whether to hold a second blockade “before this weekend,” adding that if Belgium did not see “signs of a slowdown”, tougher measures could be needed.
The government last week imposed population regulations in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. The ban is in place every day from midnight to 5 am, restaurants and cafes are closed for seating, and people are expected to work from home unless it is possible. Amateur sports competitions are canceled and any professional competitions must take place without spectators.
While Van Laethem says that while it may “be able to get out of this without locking,” the authorities are preparing all the cases, and if there is a second blockade, the government will not “waste two or three days” before putting it into effect.
Belgium has recorded a total of 333,718 cases and 10,899 deaths since the outbreak, according to Sciensano.