Belgium in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic: a snapshot in January 2021
WHO/Europe has interviewed practitioners and patients affected by cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases to gather their experience on NCD care during the COVID-19 pandemic. This collection of stories sheds light on the challenges and opportunities faced in countries, and documents innovative solutions to overcome them. This document gives a snapshot of the situation in Belgium in January 2021. In 2020, Belgium experienced highs and lows as it grappled with COVID-19. Ghent University Hospital is ane of the largest hospitals in Belgium, with over 1000 beds and more than 6000 staff. The hospital benefited from a high degree of preparedness and prescience. Very early on in the pandemic, in January 2020, a task force was set up to prepare for the crisis they expected could be facing the country. Its members included a physician who had experience of Ebola. When COVID-19 hit, all non-essential medical care immediately was shut down.