Omicron variant accounts for 8% of coronavirus infections in Belgium
According to the virologist Professor Marc Van Ranst, on Friday the omicron variant accounted for 8% of all coronavirus infections in Belgium. This is up from 6% on Thursday and just 3% at the start of the week. Virologists say that the growth in the number of people infected with the variant was to be expected given its highly infectious nature. This is something that has already been seen in South Africa, the United Kingdom and Demark.
Speaking on Friday, the virologist Professor Steven Van Gucht told journalists that the omicron variant currently accounts for between 700 and 1,000 confirmed coronavirus infections per day in Belgium. At Friday morning’s National Crisis Centre press briefing Professor Van Gucht said that “The figures are doubling every two days. The figures for the Delta variant are slowly coming down, but below the waterline, you can see Omicron coming up, and that is going quite fast at the moment.”
It is likely that within just a few weeks the Omicron variant could become dominant in Belgium.
“Early next year we can expect an Omicron wave: we will have had the end-of-year celebrations and people will be returning from holidays,” Professor Van Gucht said.
With this in mind Belgium has speeded up the booster vaccine programme. Those that have received a third dose of coronavirus vaccine are significantly better protected against coronavirus. A third shot provides 70% protection against symptomatic illness.