Three percent of current Covid-19 cases in Belgium are linked to the Omicron variant, according to Emmanuel André, a microbiologist at Leuven university hospital (UZ Leuven).
This latest update reflects the rapid increase in infections linked to the new strain, which was first detected in South Africa and which will most likely overtake the Delta variant, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned on Monday.
“Today in Belgium, 3% of people who are infected are infected with the Omicron variant. This is ten times more than 8 days ago and it will increase very quickly,” André said on Twitter.
“Especially if you have fragile health, please get vaccinated (three doses). Don’t wait any longer.”
Aujourd’hui en Belgique, 3% des personnes qui sont infectées le sont par le variant #Omicron. C’est 10x plus qu’il y a 8 jours, et cela va à augmenter très rapidement.
Surtout si vous avez une santé fragile, s’il vous plaît faites-vous vacciner (3 doses). N’attendez plus.
— Emmanuel André (@Emmanuel_microb) December 13, 2021
More than 900 new Omicron infections have been reported in Europe in one day, according to the latest update of the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) on Monday.
The number of confirmed cases rose on Monday from 766 to 1,686 – the largest increase in the number of cases with this strain since it was first detected in Europe.
Most cases were reported by Norway (958), followed by Denmark (195) and Germany (82). So far in Belgium, 30 cases have been officially linked to the new strain; globally, some 6,430 cases have been officially linked to the strain in 70 countries.
First Omicron death
The first death as a result of an infection with the Omicron variant was reported on Monday in the United Kingdom.
The UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that at least one person had died of an infection with the strain and that people should not regard Omicron as a milder variant.
“We have to recognise that the virus is spreading rapidly among the population. So the best thing we can do is to all go for a booster shot,” he said.
The total number of confirmed Omicron cases in the UK is 4,713 with 1,576 reported in the last 24 hours. The UK Health Security Agency also confirmed that ten people have been hospitalised with the Omicron variant in England.
Johnson on Sunday announced that all adults in England would be offered a booster jab by the end of the year and launched an “urgent national appeal,” calling on people to get jabbed in response to the new variant circulating more rapidly.