File photo: Nurses push a patient on a stretcher into the ‘Clinique CHC MontLegia’ building, part of the relocation of the ‘Clinique Saint-Joseph’ hospital in Liege, on March 20, 2020 in Liege, as the country battles against the Covid-19 outbreak caused by the novel Coronavirus. (Photo by BRUNO FAHY / various sources / AFP) / Belgium OUT

Belgium, one of the European countries hardest hit by the coronavirus, on Wednesday reported its death toll from the pandemic had surpassed 10,000.

The country, which has a population of 11.5 million, recorded 10,001 deaths by Wednesday, 14 more than in the previous 24 hours.

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.

The death toll surpassed 5,000 in April.

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 7-8 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, or 64 percent, if residents of care homes who died in hospital are included, according to Doctors Without Borders (MSF).


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