Omicron variant in Brussels prompts increased contact tracing

Omicron variant in Brussels prompts increased contact tracing
Credit: Belga

Contact tracing efforts are being stepped up in the Brussels-Capital Region to detect the Omicron coronavirus variant, said Inge Neven of the Brussels Health Inspectorate during a press briefing on Tuesday.

While Neven confirmed that the variant has also been found in Brussels, she stated that the health inspectorate will not give separate figures for the number of Omicron cases per region.

“At the request of the researchers at KU Leuven who are following up on this variant, we are not communicating individual data,” Neven said. “However, we are working on even more in-depth contact tracing to find out where the cases come from.”

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Once a suspected case is detected in Brussels, those concerned will immediately be contacted by the contact tracers. They and their contacts must immediately go into strict isolation.

“We are now trying to determine how far the Omicron variant has already spread and to counteract the spread of the virus as best we can,” Neven said.

For the time being, scientific knowledge on the variant is limited. Experts have stressed that it is not yet clear how sick it makes people or how it reacts to existing vaccines.

Across Belgium, 18 cases of the Omicron variant have been officially confirmed, although this number is growing daily and some thirty have been linked to the variant.

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