First European Case of the New COVID Variant was Discovered in Belgium
Belgium has detected the first case of a new variant of the coronavirus, which has caused a feverish closure of air links with several countries in southern Africa.
Mark van Ranst, whose laboratory works closely with the public health agency Sciensano, said on Twitter that the variant, currently known only by its code B.1.1.529, was found in a sample of a passenger arriving in the country from Egypt on November 11.
The patient's first symptoms appeared on November 22, the virologist added, quoted by Reuters. Earlier, Israel confirmed that it had discovered the new variant in the country.
Britain, France, Italy and Germany are among the countries that have cut off air links with six South African countries until the risks of the new option are clarified. For the British authorities, the regime will be in force for at least 3 weeks.
At the same time, the Republic of South Africa believes that all this is a replay for which the country pays the bill, while it should receive praise for its ability to quickly identify the problem and share information.
The variant, which has about 50 known mutations and has been described as "radically different from that of Wuhan," was discovered by sequencing in neighboring Botswana and then in the South African capital, Pretoria. There, a group of students (it is not yet known how many) did PCR tests and all of them have an anomaly. This prompted authorities to send the samples to Durban to a genome sequencing laboratory.
The worries are not so much for the Republic of South Africa, but for the variant not to be very dangerous and to slide across the continent, where only 3% of the population are vaccinated on average.
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