Covid deaths pass 10,000 in Belgium

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Belgium, one of the European countries hardest hit by the coronavirus, said today its death toll from the pandemic has surpassed 10,000.

The country, which has a population of 11.5 million, recorded 14 more deaths over the past 24 hours, taking the total to 10,001.

Reported infections rose to 117,115 from 115,353, the Sciensano research institute said.

Since the start of the pandemic seven months ago, Belgian authorities have included as wide a number of cases as possible in the toll, adding fatalities in hospitals and care homes, and those people whose deaths may have been caused by the virus but were not tested.

During the peak of the pandemic in April, Belgium recorded more than 250 deaths daily over about 10 days, according to Sciensano.

Since the summer, testing capacity has been stepped up, leading to a sharp rise in the number of positive cases recorded, particularly in September when people returned to work and school after the summer holidays.

The daily number of deaths has increased since the start of this month, going from three to an average of 7 to 8 in recent days, with the elderly and those in poor health increasingly among those infected.

The elderly in around 1,500 care homes have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic. These facilities have recorded around half of the deaths, according to official figures. This rises to around two-thirds if residents of care homes who died in hospital are included, according to Doctors Without Borders (MSF).

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