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The Indian variant detected in Belgium

The strain was spotted among a group of students who arrived in Brussels this month from India, via Paris airport at Roissy.

Patrick JACQUEMOT

Patrick JACQUEMOT

The strain was spotted among a group of students who arrived in Brussels this month from India, via Paris airport at Roissy.

(AFP) – The services of Pedro Facon, who holds the title of Belgian government commissioner in charge of the health crisis, confirmed that a total of 20 Indian students had just tested positive for the new covid variant. All were immediately placed in quarantine in the Flemish cities of Aalst (11) and Leuven (9), where they arrived in mid-April for training in … nursing.

According to several experts, they would have been victims of a “super contaminator”, perhaps within their group, during the bus trip that brought them from the Paris region to Belgium. The young people had to undergo a PCR test in their country before taking the plane, then a rapid test again on their arrival in Roissy, according to Belgian media.

Virologist Marc Van Ranst, a prominent Belgian expert in the crisis, told Flemish radio that the group landed in Roissy on April 12, and that five days later several students fell ill, with symptoms of the virus. The analyzes carried out in the reference laboratory of the University of Louvain made it possible to diagnose the presence of the Indian variant, already identified in the United Kingdom and which is causing concern.

The United Kingdom on Monday restricted flights from India to its residents only, after the confirmation of 103 cases of this variant on its territory, and France on Wednesday added India to the list of countries whose travelers are subject to mandatory quarantine.

This variant, detected in western India in October, is described as “Double mutant” because it is in particular the carrier of two disturbing mutations at the level of the spike protein of the Sars-CoV-2 virus. One of them might be able to cause increased transmission.


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