Western Europe

Belgium detects first case of new COVID variant in Europe

19:57, 26 November 2021
Belgium detects first case of new COVID variant in Europe Photo: Maksim Konstantinov/Global Look Press

A patient infected with a new B.1.1.529 variant has arrived from Egypt.

Belgium has become the first EU country to record a case of new B.1.1.529 COVID variant considered to be one of the most dangerous so far. The announcement was made by Belgium’s Health Minister Franck Vandenbroucke during a press conference.

“We have confirmed a case of this new type with a person who came from abroad, who tested positive on November 22 and who was not vaccinated.”

According to virologist Marc Van Ranst, the traveler arrived from Egypt on November 11.

The World Health Organization spokesperson Christian Lindmeier has earlier announced that the WHO was monitoring the situation with the new COVID strain adding that the agency was determining whether it should regard the B.1.1.529 as “a variant of interest or a variant of concern”.

He added that it would take at least several weeks for researchers to discover the impact the new type makes and how transmissible it is. The WHO will also check vaccine’s efficiency against it.

The B.1.1.529 was discovered in South Africa on Thursday. Several countries, including the UK, Israel and the EU members, have suspended or canceled flights coming from the country.

The British and Israeli governments also intend to introduce travel restrictions on Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, and Namibia.

The new type has also been reportedly recorded in Hong Kong.