BRUSSELS

A decline in new COVID-19 infections seems to be confirmed but limitations on public life need to continue, Belgium’s Interfederal Crisis Center said on Wednesday.

A daily average of 527.7 coronavirus cases was registered between Aug. 9 and Aug. 15, according to latest reports from the country’s public health institute Sciensano.

The figure marks a 15% decrease compared to the previous week and confirms the declining trend, spokesperson Frederique Jacobs explained at a press conference.

If the drop continues at this pace, the daily infection rate may fall to 350 by the beginning of September.

However, a 50% decrease in new infections is needed to bring the daily number down to 100, which was the average between early June and mid-July, the official said.

This is why the Interfederal Crisis Center insists on keeping the restrictions on public life, he added.

One of the most controversial measures is the “social bubble” concept, which limits an individual’s regular interactions to five people, including family and friends.

Jacobs said it was very important to follow this particular rule because the virus seems to spread the most effectively between family members visiting each other.

Coronavirus infections started to rise in Belgium in mid-July, with the daily average going over 600 by August. The peak of 866 new infections was reached on Aug. 10.

The numbers have fallen over recent weeks, with only 124 new cases reported on Aug. 17.

Belgium’s overall case count is now at 78,897, including 9,959 deaths.

Across the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has claimed nearly 782,000 lives in 188 countries and regions since last December.

Over 22.16 million cases have been reported worldwide, with the highest numbers in the US, Brazil, India, and Russia, according to figures compiled by the US’ Johns Hopkins University.

The data shows more than half of all patients – over 14.13 million – have recovered so far.

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