Belgium's COVID-19 death toll tops 20,000
Belgium has recorded a total of 20,038 COVID-19 deaths since the beginning of the epidemic, the public health institute Sciensano reported on Sunday, Trend reports citing Xinhua.
The country counted an average of 68.9 COVID-19 deaths per day in the week from Jan. 3 to Jan. 9, showed Sciensano data.
Meanwhile, the number of new infections was on the rise again, a week after pupils went back to school and businesses resumed activities following the Christmas and New Year holidays.
In the week from Dec. 31, 2020 to Jan. 6, 2021, an average of 1,777 new infections per day were reported, an increase of 11 percent on a weekly basis, according to Sciensano.
The reproduction rate of coronavirus, also known as the R number, stood at 0.98 from Jan. 3 to Jan. 9, Sciensano noted. The reproduction rate means the average number of people each infected person goes on to infect. If it's above one, the number of cases will increase exponentially.
Hospitalizations continued to decrease, with an average of 135 admissions per day recorded from Jan. 3 to Jan. 9, showed Sciensano data. Currently, 1928 patients are hospitalized, 379 of them in intensive care.
To date, Belgium has recorded a total of 662,694 COVID-19 infections since the beginning of the epidemic.
As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, vaccination is underway in some countries with the already-authorized coronavirus vaccines. Belgium rolled out its vaccination campaign on Dec. 28, 2020.
Meanwhile, 235 candidate vaccines are still being developed worldwide -- 63 of them in clinical trials -- in countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain and the United States, according to information released by the World Health Organization on Jan. 6.