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Indian Covid variant detected in Belgium: health official | India News


BRUSSELS: The Covid-19 variant contributing to an increase in coronavirus cases in India has been detected in Belgium in a group of Indians students which arrived from Paris, Belgian authorities said Thursday.
Twenty nursing students, who arrived in Belgium in mid-April after traveling from the French capital’s Charles de Gaulle airport, tested positive for the variant, the office of government commissioner Pedro Facon told AFP, confirming reports from the media.
The students have been quarantined in Aalst and Leuven in northern Belgium, where they planned to start a training course.
Various experts have suggested that they may have been the victims of a “super spreader”, either a member of their group or another passenger on the bus that brought them to Belgium from Paris.
“These students have been in strict isolation since their arrival. Twenty of the 43 students to date are infected with the ‘Indian’ variant,” tweeted microbiologist Emmanuel Andre of the Catholic University of Leuven.
Virologist Marc Van Ranst, another expert who has been featured in Belgian coverage of the crisis, told a Flemish radio station that the group had landed in Paris on April 12. Several of the students began having symptoms of the virus five days later, he said.
Variant B.1.617 has already appeared elsewhere, including the United States, Australia, Israel, and Singapore. Concerns have led some countries, including the UK, to impose travel restrictions on India.

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