Belgium coronavirus death toll passes 500

An elderly woman rings a bell in support of the medical staff during a partial lockdown in Brussels, Sunday on March 29, 2020. (AP)
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Updated 30 March 2020

Belgium coronavirus death toll passes 500

  • 11,899 coronavirus cases confirmed by laboratory tests

BRUSSELS: Belgium’s death toll from the novel coronavirus passed the 500-mark Monday, with almost 12,000 cases detected since the start of the epidemic.

Health authorities in the country of 11.4 million said 513 COVID-19 deaths had been recorded and 11,899 cases confirmed by laboratory tests.

But officials said the rise in admissions to hospital and to intensive care units had slowed slightly over the previous 24 hours.

“We’re not at the peak, but at what we call the inflection point — that means the force of the epidemic is beginning to diminish thanks to the efforts we have all made over the last two weeks,” said Emmanuel Andre, spokesman for government’s epidemic team.

“It is extremely important to keep up these efforts — just because the curve is softening slightly today, it doesn’t mean it won’t get worse if we let up our efforts.”

On Friday, Belgium extended lockdown measures by two weeks to April 18 to slow the spread of the virus.

Schools, restaurants and most shops are closed, entry to supermarkets is restricted to allow room for social distancing and people have been told to work from home.

Outdoor sports activities and walks outside are still allowed, but only in small groups, with a friend or with family members living under the same roof.

Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes said the lockdown could be extended by another two weeks to May 3 if the spread of the virus demanded it.


Over 150 killed in Ethiopia protests

Updated 23 min 32 sec ago

Over 150 killed in Ethiopia protests

  • Violent demonstrations roiled Ethiopia in the days following the murder of popular singer Hachalu Hundessa
  • Hachalu's music gave voice to Oromos' widespread sense of economic and political marginalisation during years of anti-government protests that swept Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to power in 2018

ADDIS ABABA: At least 166 people have died during violent demonstrations that roiled Ethiopia in the days following the murder of popular singer Hachalu Hundessa, police said Saturday.
Pop star Hachalu, a member of the Oromo ethnic group, Ethiopia's largest, was shot dead by unknown attackers in Addis Ababa on Monday night, fuelling ethnic tensions threatening the country's democratic transition.
"In the aftermath of Hachalu's death, 145 civilians and 11 security forces have lost their lives in the unrest in the region," said Girma Gelam, deputy police commissioner of Oromia region, in a statement on the state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate.
Another 10 are known to have died in the capital Addis Ababa.
Girma said that a further 167 had "sustained serious injuries" and that 1,084 people had been arrested.
Officials have attributed the deaths to a combination of lethal force by security officers and inter-ethnic violence.
Girma added that the violent unrest had now "completely stopped".
Hachalu's music gave voice to Oromos' widespread sense of economic and political marginalisation during years of anti-government protests that swept Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to power in 2018.