Covid-19: ‘British variant’ closes two schools as virus sweeps through Flanders
Share article:
Share article:

Covid-19: ‘British variant’ closes two schools as virus sweeps through Flanders

The OLFA Esldonck primary school in Edegem. © Belga

Two schools in Antwerp province and another in Aalst this weekend reported cases of infection by the so-called ‘British variant’ of the virus that causes Covid-19.

The news of the spread of the variant, officially known as B-117, follows the news at the weekend that at least 128 people in the West Flanders town of Houthulst have been infected with B-117 – a variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that has proved more infectious than the original, although not more deadly.

The Houthulst outbreak hit hardest in a care home and the sheltered living facility attached to it, and affected both staff and residents, three of whom have already died.

The schools in Edegem and Kontich in Antwerp province were immediately closed. Two cases were found at a Catholic primary school in Edegem and one at a secondary school in Kontich. Staff and pupils at the school in Kontich have to quarantine for ten days.

In both cases, the decision to close and isolate was taken in conjunction with school and medical authorities, including Antwerp university hospital (UZA).

In Aalst, meanwhile, on student at a special needs school in Aalst is known to be infected. The school remains open, but all potential contacts with the student have been ordered to go into quarantine until cleared of infection.

The school stressed it was taking extreme measures – only high-risk contacts are obliged to quarantine – out of concern not to allow the infection to spread. The rest of the students will continue to attend classes either in place or online.

We realize that this measure has far-reaching consequences: about 1,450 students, 250 staff members and all their family members must go into quarantine,” said Kontich mayor Bart Seldeslachts (N-VA).
“But with the end of the corona crisis in sight, it is all the more important to prevent the spread of the virus.”

The infection was diagnosed in one person associated with the school, but not inside the school itself, he said. On Tuesday, a team from the UZA will test all students and staff.

So we will know more on Wednesday,” he said.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

Latest news

European Council: Decisions on Covid-19 and energy and debate on other issues
At the two-days summit which ended on Friday, the European Council adopted conclusions on COVID-19, digital, energy prices, migration, trade and ...
Flanders ‘water bomb’ could cause €2 billion in damages and affect thousands
The next "water bomb" or heavy rainfall over Flanders could cause damages estimated at around €2 billion, and could affect up to 100,000 people in ...
Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine 90% effective in 5 to 11-year-olds
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 90.7% effective in preventing symptomatic forms of the coronavirus in children aged five to 11, Pfizer announced on ...
Belgian airport named best for cargo in Europe
Brussels Airport has been named the best airport in Europe in a 2021 roundup of the best cargo airports across the world. The Asian Freight, ...
NASA plans first return mission to Moon in February 2022
The United States space agency, NASA, has announced that it will be aiming to launch its first, uncrewed mission to the moon, Artemis 1, in February ...
New, reportedly more contagious Delta mutation being monitored
A new mutation of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, which is reported to be more contagious, is being monitored by health authorities in the ...
Angèle releases new single: ‘Bruxelles je t’aime’
Belgian singer Angèle has unveiled her latest song ahead of the release of her new album, due later this year. 'Bruxelles je t'aime' (Brussels I ...
23 million chickens and 1.7 million pigs: Climate experts call for livestock cut
Flander's livestock needs to be drastically cut to save the climate and reach the emission reduction targets, according to the latest advice from the ...
Vaccination uptake surges in Wallonia following CST announcement
The number of people getting vaccinated against the coronavirus increased fourfold in Wallonia after it was announced that the Covid Safe Ticket ...
Guilty by association
BRUSSELS BEHIND THE SCENES Weekly analysis and untold stories With SAM MORGAN Other Brussels behind the scenes stories: Brussels' bid to make ...
Health minister supports use of Covid Safe Ticket in workplace
As the use of the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) has been expanded in Brussels and is set to in Wallonia, federal health minister Frank Vandenbroucke has ...
Maggots show Conings may have lived longer following disappearance
Former army soldier Jürgen Conings, whose disappearance in mid-May resulted in a month-long manhunt, may have been alive for longer than has been ...