The Omicron variant is increasingly present in Belgium and currently accounts for around 6% of all infections, microbiologist Emmanuel André, who is in charge of the national Covid-19 reference laboratory, said on Twitter on Thursday.
This percentage has doubled in the space of three days. A fortnight ago, it was only 0.3%, reports Belga News Agency.
#Omicron update for Belgium
The number of Omicron infections is rising fast.
Currently 6% of positive PCR samples present an SGTF, and 90% of SGTF are confirmed as Omicron (BA.1) by sequencing. pic.twitter.com/qDdwVO8pLL
— Emmanuel André (@Emmanuel_microb) December 16, 2021
Asked about these figures, virologist Marc Van Ranst said he expected the increase in cases to continue at the same rate, doubling every two or three days. Additionally, Van Ranst said it is likely that the Omicron variant will cause a further increase in infections, which have been declining since early December.
"It is difficult to predict when Omicron will cause numbers to rise again, but we can see that this is already happening in the UK," he said.
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Van Ranst added that current research is not yet sufficient to draw clear conclusions about the danger of this new variant. "I hope, of course, that Omicron is less aggressive than the other variants, but it is certainly not a simple cold. Caution is still warranted."