BRUSSELS 

Belgium reported its highest daily number of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with 60,000 infections diagnosed in the past 24 hours, Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke said Wednesday. 

The latest figures show that Belgium is one of the most affected countries in Europe by the outbreak.

Experts in Belgium, which was also the first country in Europe to detect the rapidly spreading omicron variant, warned that the number of daily cases could soon reach 125,000.

An average of nearly 28,000 new cases per day are being recorded in the country, up 27% compared with the previous week.

According to recent laboratory analysis, 94% of the cases in the country are caused by the omicron variant.

Although the number of cases is growing rapidly, a relatively lower increase in the number of patients in hospitals and decrease in the number of those treated in intensive care units (ICUs) is being met with cautious optimism by Belgian authorities and experts.

Since December 2019, the coronavirus pandemic has claimed over 5.56 million lives in at least 192 countries and regions, with more than 337 million cases confirmed worldwide, according to US-based Johns Hopkins University.

*Writing by Merve Berker

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