Belgium: Health workers infected with the Coronavirus have asked to continue working as the crisis worsens

A senior health official has warned that Belgium may run out of intensive care beds in less than two weeks and that some hospitals are facing staff shortages. The country with an average population of 11.5 million reported over 13,000 cases per day Last week, according to the Sciensano National Public Health Institute. The Covid-19 outbreak in Belgium is the second-worst outbreak in Europe in terms of the number of new cases per capita, yet Czech Republic.

Yves van Lethem, a spokesman for Belgium to combat Coronavirus, has warned that unless the Belgians change their behavior, the intensive care units will reach a capacity of 2,000 patients in 15 days.

Liège, the largest city in the French-speaking region of Wallonia, has the highest infection rate in Belgium. Liege University Hospital Communications Director Louis Marait told CNN on Tuesday that due to staff shortages, the hospital had no choice but to get doctors and nurses who had tested positive but had no symptoms come to work.

He added: “This is not a problem because they work in Corona virus units with patients who have also tested positive.” Maraite said health workers infected with Covid-19 account for 5% to 10% of the hospital’s total workforce.

Health workers who showed symptoms, such as a fever, were told not to come to work, and Mari said the hospital could not force Without visible symptoms To appear health workers.

Another hospital in Liège, CHC MontLégia, confirmed to CNN that health workers without symptoms of the disease were being asked to continue working on a voluntary basis and in “strict adherence to sanitary procedures” which include limiting contact with their colleagues.

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A spokesperson for the communications department of the private hospital told CNN that positive staff who do not have symptoms mainly work in Covid-19 units but can work in all units including those with patients without coronavirus, except for the elderly, neonatal and oncology departments, Where patients are particularly “vulnerable” are present.

A spokeswoman for the Belgian Ministry of Health told CNN that allowing health workers who do not show symptoms to continue working is allowed under “very strict conditions” due to the lack of enough health care workers. “We are trying to ensure the safety of all patients,” she added.

At a press conference on Monday, Van Lethem said that 1,000 intensive beds are already in use in the country, and that 1,250 are slated to be filled by the end of the week. He added that hospital admissions and intensive care were doubling every eight days.

In an interview with state broadcaster RTBF on Monday, Van Lethem added that a decision will be made on whether to impose a second lockdown “before the end of the week”, adding that if Belgium does not see “signs of hospitalization slowing down”, more measures may be necessary. Strictness.

The government imposed new rules on residents last week in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. A curfew is enforced every day from midnight to 5 am, restaurants and cafes are closed for seating services, and people are expected to work from home unless that is impossible. Amateur sporting events are canceled and any professional competitions must be held without an audience.

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While Van Lethem said that while it might be “possible to get out of this situation without a lockdown,” the authorities are preparing for all eventualities, and if the second lockdown is imposed, the government “will not waste two or three days” before implementing it. Into effect.

Belgium has recorded a total of 333,718 cases and 10,899 deaths since the start of the epidemic, according to Censano.

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