Sun, 06 Dec 2020

BRUSSELS, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- A total of 2,774 COVID-19 patients were admitted to Belgian hospitals for treatment as of Monday (Oct. 19), as infection numbers continued to jump in Belgium, according to figures released by the country's public health institute Sciensano on Tuesday.

That represented an increase of 88 percent compared to the hospitalization number on Oct. 12, which stood at 1,473, Sciensano's data showed.

Between Oct. 10 and 16, a daily average of 266.6 new hospitalizations was reported in Belgium, an increase of 95 percent compared with the previous week between Oct. 3 and 9.

Of the 2,774 hospitalized patients, 446 are in intensive care, 34 more than Monday.

Sciensano's data showed the total number of confirmed cases in Belgium since the beginning of the pandemic is 230,480, a daily increase of 8,227 new cases from Monday. The total number of deaths is currently 10,443, 30 more than Monday.

In the week between Oct. 10 and Oct. 16, Belgium reported a daily average of 8,422 new infection cases. In the same week, there was an average of 32.1 deaths per day, Sciensano's data showed.

Over the past two weeks, 816 infections were confirmed per 100,000 inhabitants, an increase of 226 percent compared to the two weeks before, according to Sciensano.

The tightened measures to stop the rising coronavirus infections, hospital admissions and deaths in Belgium that were announced before the weekend took effect on Monday, said newspaper Brussels Times.

Starting on Monday, and for a period of four weeks, bars and restaurants across the country will have to close. Getting takeaway, however, will still be possible until 10:00 p.m. After two weeks, the measure will be evaluated, the newspaper said.

Additionally, the sale of alcohol will be banned after 8:00 p.m., and a curfew will be installed, prohibiting people from leaving their homes for non-essential reasons between midnight and 5:00 a.m., it said.

As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, countries including France, China, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States are racing to find a vaccine.

According to the website of the World Health Organization, as of Oct. 19, there were 198 COVID-19 candidate vaccines being developed worldwide, and 44 of them were in clinical trials.

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