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Outbreak of British coronavirus variant in West Flemish village

Two thirds of the residents of the De Groene Verte care home in the Merkem, a village in the West Flemish municipality of Houthulst, are infected with the British variant of coronavirus. The news that 63 residents of the care home and 9 residents of the warden-controlled residence at the Groene Verte complex has been confirmed by the Mayor of Houthulst Joris Hindryckx (Christian democrat). Meanwhile, the number of infections elsewhere in Houthulst has risen from 8 to 56. Here too the British variant is the culprit. 

In recent weeks the number of coronavirus infections in Houthulst has been rising rapidly. Fears that the British variant of the virus could be present there were confirmed on Sunday morning. As a precautionary measure the municipal authorities had already banned all social activities in Houthulst. However, for the time being at least all schools, crèches and medical support services remain open.

Mr Hindryckx told VRT News that “The cause of the outbreak is still unknown, but we all are doing all we can with regard to contact tracing. The people that have tested positive will have to remain in quarantine for 10 days rather than the normal 7 days”.

The Mayor has also asked the Provincial Governor to request assistance from the military for the care home. “The forms were filled in on Friday. Hopefully we can deploy 4 or 5 military personnel at the care home from Tuesday”, Mayor Hindryckx told VRT News. 

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