The Omicron variant now accounts for 33% of all infections, virologist Marc Van Ranst (KU Leuven) announced on Thursday.
On Monday, the variant accounted for 20% of infections, compared to 6% the week before, Belga News Agency reports.
According to Marc Van Ranst, the measures taken on Wednesday by the Consultative Committee will certainly slow down the spread. However, the virologist believes that the variant will account for the majority of infections by next week, around New Year’s Eve celebrations.
The scientist also stressed the importance of increasing the screening capacity as the variant progresses. Omicron is estimated to be up to five times more contagious than the Delta variant. “For the time being, there are no problems in terms of testing capacity, but this remains to be monitored,” concluded Van Ranst.
Two early studies of the Omicron variant carried out in the UK and published on Wednesday show that the risk of hospitalisation after contracting the Omicron variant is considerably lower than with the Delta variant. However, health experts urge extreme caution given that the Omicron variant is considerably more infectious.