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Omicron arrives in Europe! Belgium reports first case

Belgium reported Europe’s first verified case of the new Covid-19 variety, Omicron, on Friday. Efforts to combat the quickly spreading fourth wave of corona infections were in full swing.

At a news conference, Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke said that a case of variation B.1.1.529 (Omicron variant) had been discovered in an unvaccinated person who had developed symptoms and tested positive on November 22.

The new coronavirus strain, initially discovered in South Africa, has sparked worldwide concern, with the EU and the United Kingdom among those increasing border controls as scientists try to figure out if the mutation is vaccine-resistant.

The infected person, according to Belgium’s national reference laboratory, was a young adult lady who showed symptoms 11 days after returning from a vacation to Egypt via Turkey. She had flu-like symptoms but no signs of a serious illness.

Despite the fact that none of her family members had symptoms, they were all tested.

The Omicron variation has evolved as a result of an increase in coronavirus infections in Belgium and many other European nations.

For three weeks starting Saturday, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo declared that nightclubs would close and pubs and restaurants would have to close by 11 pm, with a limit of six people per table.

A prior set of coronavirus restrictions announced a week ago included mandating the wearing of additional masks and allowing more people to work from home.

Private parties and meetings are also prohibited under the new restrictions, unless they are for weddings or funerals.

On Saturday, the country’s health ministers will meet to discuss speeding up the distribution of vaccine booster doses.

Belgium, which is home to European Union institutions and NATO headquarters, has Europe’s sixth-highest rate of cases per capita, following Austria and Slovakia, which have re-entered lockdowns.

With 75 percent of the population vaccinated against COVID-19, the death rate in Belgium is just below the EU norm.


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