New virus variant detected in Europe as Belgium reports first case

WION Web Team
Belgium Updated: Nov 26, 2021, 08:07 PM(IST)

Germany recorded 67,125 new coronavirus cases on Saturday Photograph:( AFP )

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Several countries in Europe including Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Austria introduced travel bans on South Africa after it reported the new virus variant B.1.1.529.

After South Africa announced it had detected the new virus variant B.1.1.529, Belgium became the first country in Europe to report the new case.

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Belgium's health minister Frank Vandenbroucke reported the new case even as several countries in Europe have been battling the fourth wave.

Also Read: Here's what we know about Covid B.1.1.529 or Nu variant, likely deadlier than Delta

Belgium said the traveller had returned from Egypt.

Several countries in Europe including Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Austria introduced travel bans on South Africa including on neighbouring countries namely Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and others.

Watch: Why some viruses mutate faster than others?

However, the World Health Organisation(WHO) cautioned against travel bans imposed by several countries on South Africa while adding that it will take several weeks to understand the new variant. 

Germany's health minister Jens Spahn said the "new variant causes even more problems" as the country battles a virus surge.  Chancellor Merkel had said last week that the current coronavirus curbs were not enough as the country combats the new virus wave.

Also Read: Australia says borders to remain open to South Africa 

The Netherlands had witnessed large scale riots as people protested against lockdown measures. Austria is already on a lockdown amid a surge in cases as many other European nations have reimposed restrictions.

France said it has suspended all flights from southern Africa for 48 hours.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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