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91 cases of UK coronavirus strain confirmed in Belgium

Credit: Belga

A total of 91 cases of infection with the UK coronavirus strain were detected as of Sunday, virologist Yves Van Laethem announced on Tuesday at a Crisis Centre press conference.

In addition, seven cases of the South African variant were confirmed, Van Laethem added.

That said, “the evolution of the epidemic outbreaks in the country is still favourable overall,” according to Van Laethem, who said that “the number of outbreaks and their size are still decreasing slightly.”

“On the other hand, there are more cases of these so-called more contagious variants,” he said, warning that this figure will continue to rise. They still represent less than 5% of the total number of strains isolated in our country, Van Laethem pointed out.

“We clearly need a system that represents all the strains in the country,” he said, adding that “this will be put in place in the future.”

“One positive sample out of 50 will be genetically characterised, or about 2% of the strains, which will give a more complete picture of the evolution of the variants in the country.”

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According to several studies, experts estimate that these two variants increase the risk of contagion by 40%, but “it’s a normal evolution of this type of virus,” its aggressiveness has not changed and the symptoms they cause are no more serious.

The measures to be taken remain the same: maintain a distance of 1.5 metres, limit contact and ventilate enclosed spaces. “If they are used when necessary and appropriately, the impact of fabric masks against these variants can be at least as great as if FFP2 type masks, which are more complex to put on and tolerate, were used,” adds Yves Van Laethem.

“To wear an FFP2 mask, you have to be well shaved and the mask has to fit the face well,” added virologist Steven Van Gucht, “In the medical field, tests are carried out to verify this. The type of mask can vary from person to person”.

The Brussels Times