Belgium’s health minister not excluding second lockdown

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Belgium is heading for a “difficult autumn” as coronavirus infections are rising in a “dramatic” way, Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke said Sunday.

Vandenbroucke called on people to “pull together” to keep “schools open, businesses working and making sure hospitals can cope.”

Vandenbroucke said he could not rule out another lockdown akin to the shutdown seen this spring. “I can’t guarantee anything,” the minister told Belgian television VTM when asked whether a second lockdown was imminent.

Belgium and the Netherlands have now overtaken Spain in terms of their infection rate, with 364 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants over two weeks in Belgium, and 344 in the Netherlands, compared to 308 in Spain, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

Belgium is now the second-worst country in Europe in terms of coronavirus infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the last fortnight, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

The latest update to the ECDC map on infections shows a total of 16 countries in the hardest-hit category, meaning they have had more than 120 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the last two weeks.

Leading the figures is the Czech Republic, with 433 new cases, with Belgium not far behind with 364 as of the latest update. This new position is the result of a drastic change over the weekend, which saw the country move from 5th on Friday to 2nd today as infection numbers surpassed Franc, Spain and the Netherlands.