New variant kills 7 people in Belgium

The Belgian authorities have announced the death of 7 people due to a new variant of Covid-19. Identified as a Colombian variant of the coronavirus by a team of researchers from KU Leuven, it is still very rare in Belgium. These cases were reported in a nursing home, Ter Burg in Zaventem. A total of 20 cases of contamination with this new variant were found in a department for dementia patients within the facility.

All 20 infected residents and the personal set were vaccinated, with the exception of one schoolgirl. “We have no idea how the virus got into the service,” said Kathleen Boydens, head of the facility’s nursing and human resources department. The first two cases of infection within the service were reported on July 16. Among the 7 reported deaths, there were some whose health was deteriorating while others were doing relatively well.

Nine outbreaks discovered in nursing homes

“We know that this new variant has been available in Belgium since the end of June, albeit in a very small proportion,” explains virologist Marc Van Ranst. According to the Flemish Health Authority, the virus was likely able to enter the facility with a visitor. “The person in question was asymptomatic. She had visited the nursing home a few days before a positive test was carried out, ”explains the agency door Ria Vandenreyt.

“There are currently nine outbreaks in nursing homes (in Flanders), four of which have more than five infected residents,” says Ria Vandenreyt. Of the nine outbreaks identified in the country, 13 residents have died, including seven in Zaventem.

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