18 May 2021: The corona figures show further falls in the number of new infections and hospitalisations. During the week from 8 to 14 May an average of 2,152 people in Belgium tested positive for coronavirus each day. This is down 27% on the average for the previous week. The total number of COVID-19 patients that are being cared for in Belgian hospitals has fallen to 1,803, a fall of 17% on a week ago. Of those hospitalised 616 are on intensive care wards. Meanwhile, the practical consequences of the theoretical rules announced by the government last week are slowly coming to the surface. One topic that led to a lot of controversary is that everything that is organized with more than 10 should be arranged by a professional organisation. Hence, people who want to throw a party with more than ten guests in their garden can do so from 9 June, but only if it is organised by a professional caterer. The so-called ‘kingdom of freedom’ is a bit closer for those who have a large garden and can afford a caterer. For the rest, tough luck. I’m wondering if one will be able to maintain these rules. Today’s post is at the occasion of yesterday’s international day against homophobia – SMAK, Ghent, Belgium.
17 May 2021: Nicholas is following the positive trend of the Corona figures from the comfort of his lazy couch...
17 May 2021: The coronavirus figures continue to fall. During the week from 7 to 13 May an average of 2,267 people in Belgium tested positive for coronavirus each day. This is down 24% on the average for the previous week. There are currently 1,813 patients with COVID-19 being cared for in Belgian hospitals, a fall of 16% on the figures from a week ago. Of those in hospital, 622 are on intensive care wards. The positivity rate is 6% and the reproduction number stands at 0.91. On Friday 14 May 3,851,216 people had already received their first dose of coronavirus vaccine. This is 41.9% of the adult population. Of these 1,277,779 are fully immunised against coronavirus. The Flemish Health Minister announced yesterday that he expects that the vaccination campaign in Flanders will have been completed by mid-August. By then everyone that wishes to be vaccinated will have been given the necessary two vaccine doses (or single dose if the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is used). He added that he also aims to offer all 16- and 17-year-olds in Flanders a coronavirus vaccine by 11 July. Nicholas is following the positive trend from the comfort of his lazy couch – Ghent, Belgium
16 May 2021: The latest figures on the coronavirus pandemic released by the public health institute show a continuation of the positive trend set over the past couple of weeks. The number of hospitalisations and deaths of people with COVID-19 continue to fall as does the number of people testing positive for the virus. There are currently 1,918 COVID-19 patients being cared for in hospitals, a fall of 17% on a week ago. Of these 643 (-12%) are on intensive care wards. During the week from 6to 12 May an average of 2,633 people tested positive for coronavirus each day. This is down 11% on the average for the previous week. Of the people tested, 6.1% were diagnosed positive, a fall of 0.8 percentage points on the previous week. Although an improvement this is still over the 5% positivity rate threshold above which the WHO considers an epidemic to be “giving cause for concern”. The reproduction rate stands at 0.89. Yesterday it was announced that we most likely will get a third dose of the coronavirus vaccine at the end of the year. It is still to be decided whether everyone will be offered a booster jab or if it only will be for the at-risk groups. Studies are still being carried out. Despite the encouraging figures I’m still holding my breath when I’m looking at the hustle and bustle in the historical city center of Ghent. Today’s picture shows people enjoying the re-opened outdoor hospitality late yesterday afternoon – Ghent, Belgium.
15 May 2021: The latest figures on the coronavirus pandemic in Belgium show falls in the number of hospitalisations and the number of people testing positive for the virus. During the week from 5 to 11May an average of 2,750 people tested positive for coronavirus each day, a fall of 7% on the previous week. There are 647 patients being treated in intensive care for Covid-19 and a total of 1,921 people are hospitalised with a coronavirus infection. The reproduction number increased to 0.94. On Wednesday 12 May (the latest date for which figures are available) 41% of the adult population had received their first shot of the coronavirus vaccine. In the US around 36% of the population is now fully vaccinated and the Biden administration announced last Thursday that fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing. The decision most likely is aimed at giving the vaccination campaign, which has been slowing down in the US, an extra boost. With only 10% of the Belgian population being fully immunized against the virus the situation remains too fragile to even contemplate to abandon the use of face masks. On display today is another skyline vista of Ghent from the Museum of Industry – Ghent, Belgium
14 May 2021: More than 40% of the adult population in Belgium have already received their first coronavirus vaccine jab and in a couple of hours from now I’m one of them. While the number of people testing positive for the virus remains more or less stable at a level that is still very high, the significant fall in the number of COVID-19 patients being cared for in the country’s hospitals continues.There are 657 patients being treated in intensive care for Covid-19 and a total of 2,024 people hospitalised with a coronavirus infection, a fall of 18% compared with a week ago. During the week from 4 to 10 May an average of 2,852 people in Belgium tested positive for the coronavirus each day this figure is down 4% on the average for the previous week. The reproduction number continues to stand at 0.91. With the vaccination campaign moving at full speed, everybody is hoping that the dark and rainy days are over. Let’s hope that the Indian mutation of the virus doesn’t spoil the party. Therefore, all eyes are now on the UK, and the progress of the Indian mutation, which is much more present there than it is here. On display today is the skyline of Ghent from the Museum of Industry – Ghent, Belgium.
13 May 2021: Some silver lining from the corona front but we are still in the danger zone. On average, 156 new Covid patients had to be taken to hospital each day over the past week, a substantial drop on the week. There are 686 patients being treated in intensive care for Covid-19 and a total of 2,101people hospitalised with a coronavirus infection. The number of new cases, however, is flat. Between 3May and 9 May, an average of 2,993 new coronavirus infections were detected per day, the figures is flat compared to the previous week. The reproduction number stands at 0.91. Meanwhile, virologists continue to express their concerns after the different governments in Belgium announced a whole series of relaxations with regard to corona restrictions for the coming summer. Other noteworthy news was that the interval between first and second AstraZeneca jab has been reduced from 12 to 8 weeks. Nothing changes, however, for those who already had their first AstraZeneca dose, or for those who already have an invitation. These people will still have to wait the full 12 weeks before getting their second jab. The latter does not make me a happy camper… Anyway, here’s another vignette of Ghent during this unprecedented health crisis – Ghent, Belgium
12 May 2021: Politicians are half-deaf to the arguments of virologists and healthcare professionals…
12 May 2021: With a Reproduction number of 0.90 the pandemic is shrinking in Belgium but the fall in the number of new recorded cases is increasing again. Between 2 May and 8 May, an average of 3,029 new coronavirus infections were detected per day, the figures is up by 2% compared to the previous week.
There are 711 patients being treated in intensive care for Covid-19 and a total of 2,255people hospitalised with a coronavirus infection. The positivity rate stand at 6.5%. On 9 May 38.8% of the adult population had received at least one shot of the vaccine. Clearly, during the past seven days the number of recorded cases has reached a plateau around 3,000 cases a day and it looks like we will stay around this figure in coming days. Hospitalisations among people in their 40s and 50s are on the increase. This group represents 34% of hospitalisations. Despite these concerning data the government has agreed several target dates that each should allow further relaxations: 9 June, 1 July, 30 July, 13 August, and 1 September. Starting 9 June restaurants and bars will be permitted to serve customers indoors. Fairs, fitness centres, cinemas, theatres, etc. will all be allowed to reopen on this date. Events indoors may welcome 200 participants, outdoors 400. Also starting 9 June households will be able to invite 4 people into their home. Starting 1 July people who are vaccinated will be able to travel abroad using the European green corona certificate. More people will gradually be permitted to attend big events too in July and August. A lot of promises whilst there are still a lot of unknowns. Meanwhile, we’re seeing the first tourists back in Ghent – Korenlei, Ghent, Belgium.
11 May 2021: Experts are worried that Belgium’s authorities will be easing the coronavirus restrictions too soon…
The latest figures on the coronavirus pandemic in Belgium show a continuation in the downward trend. However, the pace of the fall in the number of people testing positive for the virus is slowing. Between 1 May and 7 May, an average of 2,936 new coronavirus infections were detected per day, the figures is down by 3% compared to the previous week. There are 700 patients being treated in intensive care for Covid-19 and a total of 2,175 people hospitalised with a coronavirus infection. The positivity rate stand at 6.6% and the reproduction number is 0.89. On 8 May 38.4% of the adult population had received at least one shot of the vaccine. Whilst the corona figures are still very high, and the Indian variant is probably more prevalent than we currently report, politicians keep focusing on easing the corona restrictions. As so many people have tried hard not to get infected or infect others by following the rules over the past year, it would be a shame to release the measures too early. It would be a pity to be infected when your vaccine is waiting… Meanwhile, in Ghent people are enjoying the reopening of the outdoor hospitality – Ghent, Belgium
10 May 2021: Between 30 April and 6 May, an average of 2,983 new coronavirus infections were detected per day, the figure is down by 2% compared to the previous week. There are 706 patients being treated in intensive care for Covid-19 in Belgium and a total of 2,168 people hospitalised with a coronavirus infection. An average of 49,303.1 tests were carried out daily, with a positive rate of 6.7%. The reproduction rate continue to stand at 0.87. The figures are encouraging, unfortunately not all that glitters is gold. Yesterday it was announced that five residents of a care home have been infected with the so-called Indian variant of Covid-19 and one fatality was reported. The mutation is thought to be more transmissible than previous variants and the effectiveness of existing vaccines is still being studied. Clearly, vaccination against Covid-19 never offers 100% protection of becoming infected, and the success in the case of new variants is likely to be lower but subject experts stress that vaccination protects substantially against developing symptoms, the more serious outcomes, including ICU care and even death. Although we’re not yet out of the danger zone life downtown Ghent slowly but surely is returning to “normal”– Korenlei, Ghent, Belgium.
3 May 2021: Between 25 April and 1 May, 193 corona patients were taken to hospital each day on average, a drop of 18 percent on the week. The total number of patients in our hospitals stands now at 2,593 of which 824 are staying in intensive care. We continue to move in the right direction but there is still a way to go: at the start of the third wave, the number of patients in IC units was 315. The reproduction figure remains stable at 0.89. The number of vaccinated people passed the milestone of 3 million recently. Almost 33 percent of the adult population in Belgium has received at least one jab. All good news for happy campers… Paul de Smet de Naeyerplein, Ghent, Belgium.
"Photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place. It has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with how you see them."
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