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Belgium confirms first case of new coronavirus variant

by editor

Belgium has confirmed it has detected one case of the new variant of coronavirus that has prompted Europe and the U.K. to issue travel restrictions for parts of Africa over the last 24 hours.

Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke told reporters the variant was detected in an unvaccinated person who traveled from abroad.

The individual first tested positive for COVID-19 on November 22, he said.

The variant, known as B.1.1.529 and to be given the name Nu, has seen a steep spike in cases in South Africa over the last week.

Urgent research is now under way in South Africa and the U.K. to understand if the variant is more transmissible and dangerous.

Scientists have predicted it is likely to bypass immunization from vaccination or infection since it has so many mutations to the spike protein. But it is not yet known whether vaccines will remain effective against it.

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