The Indian variant worries the experts, it could become dominant in Belgium after the recent relaxations: “Stay on your guard”

With the latest relaxations entered into force, which finally lets glimpse the end of this long tunnel named Covid, the experts want to put things straight. Just because everything seems to be going better doesn’t mean you have to relax. The Indian variant continues to scare and also continues to kill. They fear that it will become dominant in our country after these relaxations, completely overshadowing the British variant.

“In the last two or three weeks, we have detected several introductions of this Indian variant, called delta, in our country,” says Emmanuel André, head of the reference laboratory for the coronavirus at UZ Leuven, in Nieuwsblad. “These are mainly travelers who tested positive upon arrival in our country. But we also detected some local outbreaks, especially in homes. “

The figures show the proportion of this variant is climbing rapidly in Belgium. Caution remains in order, despite an encouraging hospitalization and death rate.

“We’ve been seeing it coming for some time,” says biostatistician Geert Molenberghs (UHasselt and KU Leuven). “It is clear that the trend is on. The latest figures put us face to face with reality. “

Based on the numbers, experts predict that the variant will be dominant “by July.” “. Worried, of course, but the big difference with 2020 is that we now have a much higher vaccination rate. “Therefore, we hope that we will not see a sharp increase in hospital admissions. I am optimistic about the possibility of avoiding another big wave. »Explains Tom Wenseleers (KU Leuven)

According to Emmanuel André, fewer trips to risk areas and compliance with all barrier gestures as well as tests should slow down a possible domination of the variant. “The more time we save, the more people will be fully vaccinated. This is a solution to avoid a new confinement.

Finally, virologist Steven Van Gucht of Sciensano, explains “that people who end up in hospital seriously ill are usually unvaccinated or with only one dose. “As long as you are not fully vaccinated, it is important to be careful and follow the basic rules. If not. Especially now that many relaxations have been implemented, it is all the more important as the number of contacts increases significantly. “Stay on your guard”. “The vaccination campaign is far from over.”

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