‘Large outbreak infectious South African variant in Ostend’

Ostend is currently experiencing a major outbreak of the South African variant. Mayor Bart Tommelein (Open VLD) confirms that at least fifteen new samples have been discovered today. A local security cell is currently gathering in an emergency meeting.

The first infection with the South African variant of the coronavirus was already found in Ostend, but the mutant has since spread in the coastal town, writes Het Nieuwsblad. At the moment Oostende is experiencing a major outbreak of the South African variant. Mayor Bart Tommelein (Open VLD) confirms this to the newspaper.

Fourteen samples with the new variant were discovered in the geriatrics department of the Sint-Jan-Hospital on Saturday. And also in residential care centre A. Lacourt, a positive sample has been discovered. Although there is a high probability that many more dangerous mutants are circulating there: 22 other residents in the same department are also infected, but their samples still need to be examined in detail.

โ€œ We really need to keep that South African variant out,โ€ says the Belgian top virologist Marc Van Ranst. And until yesterday, that seemed to work reasonably well. Only eight samples had been identified with the South African variant. Today, these figures are rising sharply. Van Ransts first large-scale outbreak in Ostend is a cause for concern. Because experts warned earlier that the mutant of the coronavirus is much more contagious and can therefore cause many victims in a short period of time.

A local security cell is currently meeting in Ostend to examine the situation. Mayor Tommelein does strongly believe that the corona situation in Ostend remains under control. Although it also acknowledges that outbreaks in care facilities require additional measures.

In addition to the outbreak of the South African variant in the hospital and in the residential care center, an Ostend rehabilitation center also has an outbreak. There, the samples need to be analysed even further, but Tommelein suspects that this is also the South African variant. The center is placed immediately in lockdown.