Belgian foreign minister Sophie Wilmes in intensive care with COVID-19

Belgium’s foreign minister has been admitted to intensive care nearly a week after testing positive for coronavirus.

Sophie Wilmes, who served as the country’s prime minister until the start of this month, is said to be stable and still conscious for her treatment at a hospital on the outskirts of Brussels.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Elke Pattyn added that the 45-year-old’s condition was “not worrying”.

Image: Sophie Wilmes revealed on Saturday that she had caught the virus

Leading Belgium during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms Wilmes handed over power to Alexander de Croo on 1 October as she took on her new role as foreign minister.

She confirmed on Twitter on Saturday that she had tested positive for the virus after attending a meeting with her EU counterparts in Luxembourg days before.

The Austrian foreign minister also later announced he had caught the illness.

Despite this, Ms Wilmes said she believed she had contracted the virus within her family circle “given the precautions taken outside my home”.

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On Thursday, Mr de Croo wished his predecessor a “speedy recovery”, adding on Twitter: “Together, we will defeat COVID-19.”

Charles Michel, another former Belgian PM and current European Council president, said: “All my affection and friendship for Sophie Wilmes, who led the national fight against COVID-19 and who now wages her own fight against the virus.

“I sincerely wish her a speedy recovery.”

Belgium has been hard hit by coronavirus and is now struggling under an enormous surge in new cases.

The country of 11 million people has recorded more than 240,000 infections since the start of the pandemic, along with 10,000 deaths – and authorities have now warned they could hit their 2,000 bed capacity in intensive care units by mid-November if transmissions continue at the same rate.

Elsewhere in Europe, both Spain and France have each surpassed the milestone of 1 million cases, with the former imposing further restrictions in a bid to avoid a total shutdown.

The local government in the northern Aragon region have closed city limits in Zaragoza, Huesca and Teruel, while other local authorities prepare to close border regions altogether.

Navarra, which has the worst weekly case rate in Spain, is set to close its regional borders later today. La Rioja will follow suit tomorrow.