Brussels | A new variant of the Kovid-19, found in South Africa and not yet present in Europe, was found in a man returning from a trip to Egypt via Turkey in Belgium, a- we learned from an official source on Friday.
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Speaking at a press conference dedicated to the announcement of new detention measures in the wake of the epidemic, Belgian Health Minister Frank Vandenbrooke said, “We now have a confirmed case about this variant.
According to the minister, this patient was a returnee from abroad, had not been vaccinated and was tested positive on Monday.
The man, who “came from Egypt and passed through Turkey,” landed in Belgium on November 11, the ministry’s office told AFP in the afternoon.
The gender or nationality of this person was not disclosed by the authorities.
According to Flemish Public Broadcaster VRT, he was in his thirties and showed mild symptoms of the disease when he was tested.
The first identification of this new variant B.1.1.529, potentially highly contagious, was announced on Thursday in South Africa.
“It simply came to our notice then. Do not be afraid, ”said Frank Vandenbrooke.
The minister assured the spokesman that the mutation had appeared in a country with a “completely different vaccine context” and that it was too early to have an accurate view.
Several European countries as well as the Philippines on Friday decided to suspend flights from South Africa and other South African countries that have recognized this diversity.
Other countries, such as Japan, have indicated restrictions on travelers to the area.
The European Commission on Friday afternoon directed all EU member states to suspend flights from South Africa and other countries affected by the appearance of the new variant.
The Commission recommended that flights to and from countries affected by the new variant be discontinued
The European Commission on Friday proposed to member states to suspend flights to South Africa and other countries affected by the appearance of the new version B.1.1.529, its president Ursula van der Leyen announced.
Several member states, including France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands, have already taken similar action against the new variant announced in South Africa on Thursday. A case was found in Hong Kong, Israel against a man returning from Malawi, but a case was also found in Belgium, the first European country.
“The European Commission today proposed to member states to activate an ’emergency break’ in travel from South African countries and other affected countries to limit the spread of the new variant. All flights to these countries should be suspended until we have a clear understanding of the dangers posed by this new variant, ”she said in a statement.
“And travelers returning from this area must abide by the strict detention rules,” the German continued.
The European executive, which did not provide a list of countries affected by the suspension, presented its proposal to representatives of member countries at a meeting in Brussels.
EU countries must ratify this recommendation.
The commission president also urged Europeans not to get vaccinated “as soon as possible” and stressed that boosters provide “even better protection”.
“European Union agreements with manufacturers stipulate that new variants should be adopted immediately upon the appearance of the vaccine,” she recalled.
One-fourth of adults in the EU have not been fully vaccinated, she lamented Thursday.