New COVID-19 cases surge during holiday season in Belgium

Health authority registered over 50% increase in new coronavirus infections after Christmas.

New COVID-19 cases surge during holiday season in Belgium

New COVID-19 cases rose by 52% over the holiday season in Belgium, according to the latest data published by the country’s health institute.

An average of 10,126 new infections were detected every day between Dec. 24-30 -- 52% more compared to the previous week’s average, the Public Health Institute Sciensano revealed on Monday.

On Thursday, health authorities recorded a peak of 15,999 daily infections, according to the data.

During this period, 72,364 people tested positive out of the total 456,826 examined, indicating a 15.84% positivity rate.

The numbers suggested that the epidemiological situation has turned from the slow-down trend experienced before Christmas and that the country may enter soon the fifth wave of the pandemic.

Over 70% of the new infections are related to the new omicron variant, the government’s coronavirus spokesperson Yves Van Laethem confirmed on Friday.

The government is expected this week to introduce new quarantine requirements for travelers returning to Belgium to stop the spread of the new and more contagious variant.