Danny Gys / Reporters

Majority of coronavirus infections in Belgium are now with the British variant

Speaking at Friday morning’s press public health science institute Sciensano press conference, the virologist Steven Van Gucht said that the majority of coronavirus infections in Belgium are now with the British variant of the virus. 

"The increase in the number of positive tests in the context of fewer tests being carried point to an increased circulation of the virus. We see that 53% of infections are with the British variant. This was just 38% during the previous week”, Professor Van Gucht said.

However, the virologist added that the British variant is not solely responsible for the increased circulation of the virus. People sticking less strictly to measures in force to curb the virus’ spread is also playing a role. "Contact tracing shows that on average people report 3.2 risky contacts”. This is a third more than was the case in November. “Limiting contacts remains paramount”, Professor Van Gucht said.

The increase in the number of patients with COVID-19 that are being cared for on intensive care wards could have come about due to coronavirus outbreaks inside hospitals. This is currently being investigated. Professor Van Gucht went on to say that the fall in the number of COVID-19 deaths is above all a result of a positive evolution in the country’s care homes.

The virologist concluded by appealing to everyone that has flu-like symptoms to take a coronavirus test. “40% of people that visit their GP with flu-like symptoms have coronavirus. This is probably the first year since records began that they is no circulation of flu”. 

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