Belgium approves new Covid barometer

Brussels, Jan 22 (IANS): Belgium is introducing a new Covid-19 barometer to gauge the seriousness of the pandemic situation, which consists of three colour codes, yellow, orange and red, according to authorities.

The barometer will come into effect on January 28 under code red, reports Xinhua news agency.

"The hope is that we can go from a pandemic to an endemic. That should ensure that we would have much less unpredictability. But let me be clear: that is not yet the case today," Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said at a press conference on Friday.

The barometer's three-colour codes reflect the level of pressure on healthcare and will allow authorities to link Covid-19 measures to hospitalization numbers and ICU capacity.

The yellow code means the epidemiological situation and pressure on hospitals are under control, new hospitalisations per day don't exceed 65, while code orange means new hospitalizations per day are between 65 and 149, and intensive care occupancy between 300 and 500 beds.

Code red means a high risk of overloading the health system with beds in ICUs exceeding 500.

The health authorities noted that the number of infections continues to increase sharply, as the reproduction rate of infections and hospitalizations remains above one, indicating the increased spread of the virus.

The number of hospitalisations is also increasing, but the number of intensive care beds occupied by Covid patients is slightly decreasing, they added.

They also asked people to get booster vaccination as soon as possible.

As of March 1, a booster shot will be required for people to retain a valid health pass, if their second dose was more than five months ago, according to the authorities.



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