Belgium is the most affected country in the world in terms of death rate from Coronavirus infection.
US President Donald Trump has brought the world’s attention to this matter. Recently he was seen pointing to a graph in which Belgium appears at the top while USA is at seventh position. The graphics were based on the proportion of population and deaths from coronavirus infection.
Trump was trying to explain that America is facing Coronavirus infection in a far more effective manner. Belgium has a population of 1.15 million. That is, 66 people are dying per 100,000 people in Belgium. America has a population of about 33 crores. According to Johns Hopkins University statistics, 19 people are dying per 100,000 people in America.
But according to Belgian government spokesman and virologist Professor Steven van Guchet, this comparison is flawed and not a fair use. He said, “Actually there is a difference between public health science and political motivation. You want to tell how well you are doing, but it is wrong. We are reporting things with better accuracy.”
What is special about belgium
Belgian authorities claim that they are counting Coronavirus-infected people and deaths in a very different way and this is not happening in any country of the world. Deaths are being counted in hospitals and care homes in Belgium. Not only this, suspected deaths in care homes are also being counted in deaths due to coronavirus.
According to the latest Belgian statistics, 7,703 people have died in the country due to coronavirus, of which 53 percent have died in care homes. In 16 percent of those who die in a care home, the coroner has been confirmed to have died. The rest of the people have been considered as suspected patients of corona. It is clear that more than 3500 deaths have been included in the deaths from coronavirus, but these are the cases in which the coronavirus of those who have died has not been confirmed.
How do you collect coronavirus infected data in Belgium
Professor van Guchet explained, “This assessment is done by a medical doctor, sometimes affected by the number of infected in the care home. For example, you have one or two infected patients, a week after that in the care home 10 people with similar symptoms will die. ”
Recently, Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Willems also noted that there may be over-reporting of deaths from Coronavirus in Belgium.
But Professor van Guchet says the actual figures may be much higher than reporting. According to van, many cases are still not being reported.
Care home difficulties
Another thing is special in Belgium. Compared to other countries of Europe, people here keep their families more in care homes. More than Belgium, only people are housed in care homes in the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
Officials also believe that there was a mistake in the initial phase, due to which the staff of the care home has lacked Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Due to this, the coronavirus spread rapidly and has caught many people.
However, masks and protective gear have now been made available to all nursing home employees. Help is also being taken from the nurses and military personnel of the hospital.
According to epidemiologists, 10 percent of the people living in care homes have no symptoms of the coronavirus and these people have acquired immunity. This is a very important assessment from a scientific point of view.
How long has the lockdown been in Belgium
All non-essential services in Belgium have been closed since 18 March. Except the employees of essential services, everyone else has been asked to stay home. Only one person in the family can go shopping.
You can get out for medkill reasons, walking the dog, exercising with the family for an hour. During this time, keeping distance of social distance, you have to keep a distance of at least five feet from any other person.
Belgian police are implementing the lockdown. For this, drones have been deployed in parks and there is a provision for penalty for violation of the rules of social distancing. Check points have been built along the borders with Luxembourg, France and the Netherlands.
From these check points, the same people are being allowed to come to Belgium, who have any necessary reason or they are working here in essential services. Some of the cyclists had gone to the Netherlands but on their return the police fined them.
Lockdown Condition in Belgium
All shops are closed except for food and drink. Due to this, an interesting incident is also being seen in Belgium. Barley Hertog and Barley Nassayu city limits are from the Netherlands.
Half of one discount store here is in the Netherlands and Adar in Belgium. Due to the closure of the Belgian part, people are not able to buy the men’s clothes kept in this part.
Unlike Belgium, the Netherlands has kept shops with florists, iron or other metal furnishings, bakeries, clothes and toys. Netherlands Minister for Mark Mark Ratte described it as an intelligent lockdown.
There have been fewer deaths from Corona in the Netherlands, although there is a greater population. But like Belgium, coronavirus is not counting the suspected deaths of Netherlands care home as the death of 19 patients.
Philip de Becker, head of Belgium’s coronavirus taskforce, said on the issue of the effectiveness of his country’s system, that the system is more effective than in the Netherlands and Sweden. He also said that the people of Belgium are affected by the way they are facing the coronavirus crisis.
What will happen next in Belgium Because of Coronavirus?
Belgium is going to remove the lockdown in four stages. Clothing shops are being opened since Monday so that people can make their own masks. Masks were made mandatory for public transport system.
Sports are approved in Belgium, but only two people can play any sport together.
Apart from this, all the other shops will open from next Monday i.e. May 11. The schools are scheduled to open from May 18, in which 10 children per class will be allowed to sit. From June 8 onwards, cafes, restaurants and some tourist places will open. This will not happen if there is a rise in coronavirus cases of infection. You can get permission to go abroad in early week of June.
Although the number of patients in the hospital is stable, it is still very high. The task force has screened all two lakh ten thousand people and employees living in care homes, in which 10 percent people have been found coronavirus infected.
Belgium has more than 500 care homes and half have reported infections. Antibody tests can begin after mid-May.
Is Belgium using a tracking app to monitor coronavirus patients?
Belgium is not currently using any tracking app. Taskforce chief Philip de Becker has said that this is also not possible because right now his focus is more on tracing people one by one.
Baker said, “When people get coronavirus infected, they call the call center. Our staff then asks them who they came in contact with and then they are asked to be in self isolation.”
According to Baker, to use any app, it is necessary that 60 percent of the people of the country take a stake from themselves, which at present they do not seem close to reality.
He told, “I have seen the example of Austria where 9-10 percent of the people are using the app. This means that 90 percent of the people will have to adopt another method to track.”
Belgium is slowly removing the ban. Meanwhile, 2000 ‘Coronavirus detectives’ have been hired, whose work has come in contact with the coronavirus infected patient or the suspect.
What did Belgium learn?
Belgian scientists have begun to consider the lessons so far. They are seeing why the Coronavirus infection spread the most among the three cities. These cities are Charleroi in the south and Haaselt and Stint Truden in the east.
According to the beginning, this infection has spread due to the participation of people in the big carnivals in March. Apart from this, it is also believed that there is a large presence of second generation Italian people in these areas. Experts in Charleroi are also watching whether the coronavirus infection has any connection with hunger and poverty.
Belgian hospitals are fully experiencing infection. In hospitals, 42 per cent of the patients are on beds. Although places like Brussels are getting more patients than seats, they have to shift to other places.
But all restrictions will be removed gradually. The real concern of the officers is about the month of September. Professor van Guchet said, “Once all the schools open after summer, there will be a possibility of a rapid spread of infection. Our concern will increase with winter.”