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Belgium confirmed first Covid-19 variant case as country imposes stricter measures

BRUSSELS, Nov 26 (KUNA) -- Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo Friday announced new stricter measures to counter soaring number of coronavirus infections in Belgium, while Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke confirmed the first case of a new Covid-19 variant.
Vandenbroucke said the first case in Europe of the new Covid-19 variant was detected in Belgium, in an unvaccinated person returning from abroad.
"We have a case that is now confirmed of this variant, B.1.1.529, first detected in southern Africa," Vandenbroucke told reporters.
A leading Belgian virologist, Marc Van Ranst, tweeted that the person had returned from Egypt on November 11, local media reported.
Up to 20,836 new coronavirus cases and 50 new deaths were reported in Belgium Friday.
Meanwhile, as part of stricter measures, the hospitality sector will have to close its doors at 11:00 p.m. local time for a period of three weeks.
"Those who have to close will receive support from the government," de Croo told a press conference after a meeting of the consultative committee which is responsible for coronavirus measures in the country.
"Unfortunately, the much more infectious Delta variant is making our lives extremely difficult. We have never had so many infections in our country," he said.
Organised private parties will also be prohibited. The only exceptions to this are wedding receptions and funeral gatherings.
The maximum number of people at a table in restaurants will be limited to six, unless the group are all part of a bigger household.
These measures will come into effect from tomorrow Saturday.
From Monday, all activities that take place indoors like concerts, film shows, conferences, will only be allowed if spectators remain seated throughout.
Indoor sports activities will have to take place without spectators.
Just nine days ago, De Croo had announced restrictions to deal with the rising number of infections. (end) nk.bs