An 88-year-old patient was Belgium’s last reported death from the coronavirus pandemic, bringing the death count up to five. © Belga

An 88-year-old patient is the fifth person in Belgium to die after contracting the new coronavirus (Covid-19), health authorities said on Monday.

Officials with the public health service were not able to confirm whether the patient was male or female, according to the Belga news agency.

News of Belgium’s latest coronavirus-related fatality means the country’s death toll rose in a period of under two days, after the death of an 80-year-old patient with unspecified preexisting conditions was reported on Saturday.

As the number of confirmed cases of the virus in Belgium surged past 1,000 on Monday, authorities said that they had also recorded an increase in the number of patients requiring hospitalisation.

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A total of 252 patients are currently in the hospital, out of whom 53 are currently in an intensive care unit and 31 require breathing assistance, with one also needing cardiac support.

According to Steven Van Gucht of the government’s expert coronavirus team, the majority of hospitalised patients are aged between 70 and 90 years old, although he said younger people had also been admitted.

Out of the new cases confirmed on Monday, a majority resides in Flanders, followed by Wallonia and Brussels, with another member of the expert cabinet, Emmanuel André, also saying that officials were paying “particular attention” to a potential new cluster in the province of Hainaut.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

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