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Coronavirus

Half of Belgium’s COVID-19 Deaths in Rest Homes

December 18, 2020

BRUSSELS — More than 10,000 elderly people living in Belgian rest homes have died from COVID-19 since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Yves Van Laethem, a spokesman at Belgium’s coronavirus crisis center, told a news conference on Friday that the death of 10,270 rest home residents accounts for 56 percent of all the victims.

In a report published last month, Amnesty International said Belgian authorities “abandoned” thousands of elderly people who died in nursing homes and did not seek hospital treatment for many who were infected, violating their human rights.

One of the hardest-hit countries in Europe, Belgium has reported more than 618,000 confirmed virus cases and 18,371 deaths linked to the coronavirus.

During the first wave of the epidemic last spring, the European nation of 11.5 million people recorded a majority of its COVID-19-related deaths in nursing homes. Van Laethem said the situation has improved, but remains “precarious and difficult.”

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