Belgium is the first country to report cases of the newest Covid-19 variant, even more, transmissible and likely more resistant to the vaccines.
On November 11, a person traveling from Egypt to Belgium tested positive for Covid-19 Omicron, Marc Van Ranst, confirmed it. Ranst runs a laboratory alongside Sciensano, which is Belgium's public health body.
The infected person developed symptoms on November 22.
The variant was initially called B.1.1.529, but it was named Omicron by the WHO officials on Friday afternoon.
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Van Ranst tweeted that the variant tested was not Delta. The analysis concluded today that the new variant is the B.1.1.529 variant. It is causing concern because of its "extremely high" number of mutations and was first detected in South Africa.
Apart from Belgium, this new variant is also confirmed in Botswana, Belgium, Hong Kong, and Israel.
Belgium and the Netherlands are already planning new measures to avoid turning holiday traveling into another Covid wave.
Prime minister Alexander De Croo stated there is a rise in hospital admission, so the clubs are closed, and restaurants and bars work under curfews. He said:
"We have been hoodwinked by the Delta variant."
The new variant has 32 mutations on spike protein, while the Delta variant has two. WHO had urged meeting today, calling Omicron a variant "of concern."