BRUSSELS — Authorities in Belgium, one of the European countries hit hardest by the coronavirus, are warning that the number of cases is rising at a “quite alarming” rate and that 10,000 people could be catching the virus each day by the end of the week.
Yves Van Laethem, a spokesman for Belgium’s COVID-19 crisis center, says that “all the indicators continue to rise, it must be said, in a quite alarming way, in all provinces and all age groups.”
An average of 4,145 new cases of the disease were being recorded every day in Belgium in the week of Oct. 2-8, an increase of 89% over the previous week, according to new data released Monday. More than 6,500 new cases were reported last Wednesday alone.
Van Laethem said that “if this rise continues at the same rate, we could see 10,000 new cases a day at the end of this week.”
Since the start of the pandemic, more than 162,200 people have been infected with the virus in Belgium, which has a population of around 11.5 million people. As of Monday, 10,191 people were reported to have died from the disease.
Last week, the government tightened its coronavirus restrictions. Close contacts are limited to a maximum of three people outside of a household. In the capital, Brussels, which is seeing more than 800 new cases each day, bars and cafes were ordered to close for at least a month.