Belgian authorities confirmed Tuesday that a 12-year-old girl has died of the coronavirus, by far the youngest among the more than 700 victims in the country.
The national crisis-center coronavirus spokesman, Emmanuel Andre, said it is "an emotionally difficult moment because it involves a child, and it has also upset the medical and scientific community.”
"We are thinking of her family and friends. It is an event that is very rare, but one which upsets us greatly,” Andre said. No details about the girl were provided.
He added that 98 people had died from the disease over the last 24 hours, bringing the total toll to 705 in a country of around 11.5 million people. More than 12,705 cases have been confirmed in total so far.
Andre said Belgian authorities expect the spread of the disease to reach its peak in the coming days, and that "we will arrive at a point where we’re close to saturation point at our hospitals.”