9 April 2021: The number of new infections is down for the sixth day in a row. During the week from 30 March to 5 April an average of 3,591 people tested positive for SARCoV-2. The figure is down 25% on the week. Unfortunately, there are still over 900 patients being treated in intensive care. Hopeful news is that vaccinations in Belgium are picking up speed. This is largely due to the on-time delivery of the Pfizer vaccine. Over the Easter break 600,000 people will get their first jab in Flanders. The figure equals that of the number of people that received the jab during the entire period ahead of Easter. Also, the first supplies of the Johnson & Johnson corona vaccine are set to arrive in Belgium this month. The one-shot Janssen vaccine that doesn’t need to be stored at low temperatures is the fourth to be approved for use in the EU after Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca. This good news deserves some happy faces. On display is a mural by Phase. – Neerscheldestraat, Ghent, Belgium.
8 April 2021: The number of patients being treated for Covid in intensive care during the third wave has reached a new high. Meanwhile the average number of new cases continues to fall. During the week from 29 March to 4 April an average of 4,243 people tested positive for SARCoV-2. The figure is down 12% on the week. 3,167 patients are currently in hospital with Covid. The figure is up 14% on the week. 893 are in intensive care. Yesterday, the EMA stated that a possible link was found between AstraZeneca’s vaccine and very rare cases of blood clotting. Although the European agency stressed that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks and that based on the current data, no specific risk factors (such as age or gender) could be identified, and therefore, did not recommend any measures such as an age limit, the Belgian government decided to suspend the use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine for people younger than 55. With this decision Belgium joins France in banning the use of AstraZeneca on under 55s, at least for a month. In Germany and the Netherlands the vaccine is reserved for over 60s.The minister of health claims that the impact of the decision on the rollout of the vaccination campaign will be minimal. On the other hand, I think that the decision means that I’ll have a couple of weeks more to document Ghent in all its facets – Gentbruggestraat, Ghent, Belgium
7 April 2021: During the week from 28 March to 3 April an average of 4,266 people tested positive forSARCoV-2. The figure is down 11% on the week. However, there are still 3,053 patients in hospital of which 865 in intensive care. Experts expect that the downwards trend in infections soon will translate in a reduction of patients in hospital. In summary, 10 days after the stricter corona measures were introduced there is a ray of hope, but it’s very fragile. Whilst we’re challenged by the coronavirus our tulips are weathering a late winter spell – Ghent, Belgium.
6 April 2021: The peak of the third wave seems to be behind us, but other key indicators are still on the rise. During the week from 27 March to 2 April an average of 4,300 people tested positive for SARCoV-2. The figure is down 10% on the week. 2,921 patients are currently in hospital with Covid. 832 are in intensive care. By 1 April 1,496,083 people in Belgium had received their first shot of the corona vaccine. That’s 16.3% of adults. 569,101 people have had their second jab. Starting as of today everybody in Belgium over 18 can register on the reserve list for coronavirus vaccinations. The list will be used by vaccination centres eager to avoid waste. People will be called up last minute to attend their vaccination centre as extra doses become available e.g. due to no shows. Also, as of today pharmacists will start selling the coronavirus self-tests. The test will require you to swab your nose at a depth of two centimetres. Hoping that spring will mark the end of this unprecedented health crisis, I continue to document my hometown. What I’m seeing is sometimes surreal, ugly, paradoxical and complex. It’s a little bit of everything and a little bit of nothing but it’s unique in its own right. On display today is another mural of Kitsune.– Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat, Ghent, Belgium.
5 April 2021: The number of recorded new cases falls for the second day in a row. During the week from 26 March to 1 April an average of 4,436 people tested positive for SARCoV-2. The figure is down 6% on the week. Last Friday 2,913 patients were in hospital with Covid of which 822 were in intensive care. Also, on Easter Monday there is worry and apprehension. “When will this pandemic ever pass?” But there is also hope and expectation. “It will be so different once I’m properly vaccinated.” To ease the pain and anxiety William is offering to all of you a chocolate treat from his Easter egg hunt – Ghent, Belgium.
4 April 2021: During the week from 25 to 31 March an average of 4,577 people tested positive forSARCoV-2. The figure is down 1% on the week. Less encouraging is that for the first time in four months the number of people being treated in a Belgian hospital for Covid has exceeded 3,000 and the number of patients in critical care has risen above 800. Thus far, only 1,404,877 people received their first shot of the corona vaccine. 546,555 people have had their second jab. From 6 April a central list for reserve candidates will be introduced. People who subscribed to the list will be contacted if any doses of the vaccine need to be used up urgently e.g. because of no-shows. The list has been introduced to avoid wasting valuable vaccines. Despite that the corona statistics are doing far from good and we’re muddling through vaccination, the 105th edition of the Tour of Flanders will take place today after being shifted to the end of the season in 2020 due to the corona crisis. It will feature the same iconic hills and the same legendary stretches of cobblestones. But since fans will be banned to watch Belgium’s iconic bicycle race from the roadside, I’m wondering if it will it feature the same passion? We went for a hike in the Flemish Ardennes yesterday to take a sneak preview of the trail and, believe it or not, we spotted the first cycling fanatic: a zebra… Happy Easter!
3 April 2021: During the week from 24 to 30 March an average of 4,700 people tested positive forSARCoV-2, a rise of 3% on the figures for the previous week. The increase in the number of new coronavirus infections – while still rising – is slowing down, and the weekly averages will likely start dropping within a few days. However, hospitals are still full, and the number of admissions continues to rise, including in intensive care. There are currently 790 Covid patients in ICUs. According to subject experts that number will soon exceed 800, and possibly even 900 beds and they warn that the tail end of the third wave could be long if we do not continue to respect the measures that are currently in place to curb the spread of the virus. It ain’t over until it’s over and I still have a couple of weeks left to document Gent during this unprecedented crisis – Koningin Maria Hendrikaplein, Ghent, Belgium.
2 April 2021: During the week from 23 to 29 March an average of 4,813 people tested positive forSARCoV-2, a rise of 10% on the figures for the previous week. The figures are still going the wrong way, though the rise is less outspoken now. There are 2,929 Covid-19 patients in Belgian hospitals according to the latest available figures (from last Tuesday). The number is the highest in almost four months. Despite these worrying numbers, people are more and more careless. Yesterday riot police were deployed to disperse crowds in Brussels’ Bois de la Cambre yesterday afternoon after thousands of people showed up to “La Boum,” a fake festival that was announced as an April Fools’ joke. Also, in Ghent people flock to the parks and squares. As a result, these sites become much too crowded, and people are no longer respecting social distancing rules. Another poblem is that many of them are leaving their garbage behind… St Peter’s Square, Ghent, Belgium.
1 April 2021: During the week from 22 to 28 March an average of 4,827 people tested positive forSARCoV-2, a rise of 14% on the figures for the previous week. For over a week now 98% of critical care beds have been full and healthcare professionals expect an increase in Covid patients needing critical care in coming days. The authorities have asked hospitals to postpone all elective procedures. Hence, doctors will have to decide on what is urgent and what can be postponed. It’s the third time in a year that these ethical choices have to be made. Despite this alarming news, largely thanks to the fine weather and the extended Easter break, parks and squares are crowded with partying youngsters downtown Ghent – Ghent, Belgium.
31 March 2021: During the week from 21 to 27 March an average of 4,810 people tested positive forSARCoV-2, a rise of 15% on the figures for the previous week. There are currently 2,818 patients with COVID-19 in Belgian hospitals. Of these more than 739 are in intensive care. Clearly, Belgium’s coronavirus figures are in the red and the pressure on the intensive care units is increasing rapidly. If the figures continue to increase at this rate, Belgium will see 1,000 coronavirus patients in intensive care by 10 April. Hospitals have been asked to scale up and to reserve 60% of beds in their intensive care units for Covid-19 patients and to postpone all elective procedures. Yesterday was not all gloom and doom, there was a glimpse of hope on the vaccination front: (1) Belgium’s vaccination campaign will enter a new phase in April, when people with an underlying condition between 18 and 65 years old will start receiving their jabs, and (2) Pfizer/BioNTech will be producing 2.5 billion coronavirus vaccines this year, 500 million more than the expected 2 billion. The latter alongside the news that Belgium will receive a share of 10 million coronavirus vaccines which Pfizer promised to deliver to the EU by this summer, comes at a pivotal moment in our country’s vaccination rollout. Promising news but for now we’re all urged to stick to the measures to curb the further spread of the virus. Driving compliance to keep everybody safe, however, is becoming a huge challenge. Despite the fact that rushing off to the seaside now the weather is glorious is not a good idea there were large crowds queuing at the railway stations yesterday morning - Blankenberge, 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."
I just like to take pictures, I just push the button. I never worked in the darkroom, I never studied photography or journalism; I’m just a passionate photographer.
"Success is the ability to go from failure to failure, without a loss of enthusiasm”
Sir Winston Churchill
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