Belgium: Five fully vaccinated care home residents infected with B.1.617.3 in vaccine breakthrough outbreak

Five residents of a care home in Borsbeek in Antwerp province have been infected with the so-called Indian variants of Covid-19, according to the Flemish Agency for Health and Care. One of those affected has died.  All of the home’s residents have been fully vaccinated.

In three of the cases involved in the new outbreak, the Indian variant has been confirmed, and it is supposed the same goes for the other two. One has since died, and another is in hospital.

Brussels Times report


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EU: ECHR throws fuel on the #coronavirus vaccination fire – backs mandatory jabs for kids

The European Court of Human Rights ruled on Thursday that democratic governments can make vaccinations obligatory, in a landmark judgement rejecting complaints brought by Czech families penalised for refusing compulsory jabs for their children.

“The… measures could be regarded as being ‘necessary in a democratic society'” the court ruled, saying that the Czech health policy was consistent with the “best interests” of children.

Our opinion: ** Is there an easier or quicker way of antagonising parents in the middle of a global viral pandemic than encouraging mandatory vaccinations? We can’t think of one. Expect severe blowback ** report


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Belgium: number of #coronavirus patients in hospitals reaches four-month high

254 new Covid-19 patients were being hospitalised in Belgium each day on average between 25 and 31 March. This number is 14 percent up on the week.

There were 2,929 Covid-19 patients in Belgian hospitals according to the latest available figures (from last Tuesday), the highest number since 10 December. 755 (+17) are in intensive care units, 435 (+6) are on ventilators. Some 95 percent of all available IC beds are taken now, with experts warning that “choices will have to be made”.

The number of new cases has risen to 4,827 per day, a 15 percent rise on the week. report


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Belgium: More than half of students suffered anxiety or depression during #coronavirus crisis

More than half of students suffered from anxiety and/or depression during the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, with one in ten suffering so badly they were unable to take care of their own basic needs.

Of the sample, fully 50% reported problems of anxiety, while depression was experienced by 55%. Even the freshest of freshers will have started their time in higher education in the autumn of 2019, when the coronavirus was not even a cloud on the horizon, and so all will have had some experience of student life before the curtain came down, and brought an end to what should have been a fun and almost care-free period in a young person’s life.

As it turns out, students more advanced into their academic career suffered more than their juniors.

Brussels Times report



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Peter Piot: We may get Sars-cov-2 #coronavirus outbreaks every winter

Peter Piot is director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. His CV describes him as the discoverer of the Ebola virus and a past expert for the United Nations on the Aids virus HIV.

Last year Piot succumbed to SARS-CoV-2 himself. He survived, although it took six months to recover and left behind heart problems.

“I believe this virus becomes endemic even after vaccination of the majority of the population,” he told the GVA. “Thanks to the vaccines, few people will die or end up in hospital unless very dangerous variants emerge regularly that make the vaccines less effective. Also, let us not forget that we have been able to eradicate only one virus that affects humans: smallpox.”

“The world will not be quite the same after this crisis. We are probably going to have outbreaks now and then, maybe every winter.”

Brussels Times report



Belgium: One in four #coronavirus patients is in critical care

The number of patients being treated for Covid in intensive care in Belgium has doubled in just over a month.  One in four Covid patients in hospital is now in critical care.

On average in the week to 24 March 222 patients with Covid were hospitalised each day. The figure is up 26% on the week. On Wednesday 251 (-30 on the day) patients were hospitalised.  241 (+5) were discharged.

2,452 (+51) patients are currently in hospital with Covid.  637 (+31) are in intensive care.  332 (+7) are on a ventilator. In the week to 21 March on average 26 deaths a day were linked to Covid.  The figure is up 6.4% on the week. report


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Belgium: third #coronavirus lockdown announced

Shopping at non-essential stores only with an appointment.  Large stores e.g. Ikea will have to limit numbers to 50.  Outdoors no more than four people will once again be able to gather together instead of 10 at present. Contact professionals like barbers, hairdressers and beauticians will have to close. All measures start Saturday and apply for the next four weeks.

Kindergartens will remain open, but starting Monday primary and secondary schools will close.  Exams that are planned will be able to go ahead.  Schools are supposed to reopen after the Easter break.

The ban on non-essential travel abroad remains in force.  Border checks are being stepped up during the Easter break.

The government is also seeking greater compliance with mandatory homeworking for all who can do this.  Extra checks are promised. report


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EMA: If you have these symptoms after vaccination with AstraZeneca #coronavirus serum seek medical help immediately

“Wheezing, chest or stomach pain, swelling or coldness in an arm or leg, severe headache or worsening or blurred vision after vaccination, persistent bleeding, small multiple bruises, reddish or purplish spots or blisters of blood under the skin” – if you have these symptoms after vaccination against Covid with AstraZeneca serum seek medical help immediately and report that you have recently been vaccinated.

Il Giorno report


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Belgium postpones planned relaxation of #coronavirus measures

Belgium is not going to relax the measures due to the strongly rising corona figures. The planned reopening of the theme parks on 1 April and the start-up of outdoor events with a maximum of 50 people has been postponed until further notice, as has the expansion of organized outdoor sports to ten people. During the Easter holidays, the youth camps, which are immensely popular in Belgium, are allowed to continue. But only with activities with a maximum of 10 instead of 25 children in the open air and without overnight stays, according to Prime Minister Alexander De Croo.

De Telegraaf report


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EMA: Anaphylaxis and hypersensitivity reactions should be included in the list of possible side effects of the Astrazeneca vaccine

European Medicines Agency (EMA), the corona vaccine from the manufacturer Astra-Zeneca can cause severe allergic reactions. Anaphylaxis and hypersensitivity reactions should be included in the list of possible side effects of the vaccine citing , the EMA said on Friday, several such cases in the UK. report


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AstraZeneca halves #coronavirus vaccine delivery to the EU – export restrictions to blame

The European Commission received the message from AstraZeneca on Thursday afternoon (11 March 2021). According to Sweden’s vaccination coordinator Richard Bergström, it is export restrictions and not production capacity that are behind it.

Astra Zeneca has really made an effort to find volumes to live up to the contract. 75 million doses would come from the United States, the United Kingdom and to some extent from India in the second quarter. Now we have just been told that we will not get rid of these doses, says Richard Bergström to TV4.

The USA and India, where AstraZeneca’s has production, have introduced export bans to ensure that they themselves get enough vaccine. The fact that the vaccine cannot be delivered from the UK has contractual reasons.

Dagens Nyheter report


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Belgium to vaccinate children against #coronavirus after the summer

All children who want to will receive a coronavirus vaccine after the summer, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said on Thursday.

“You will also receive a vaccine, but today you are the least vulnerable. First, we will vaccinate those who are most likely to get sick, but eventually, we will also vaccinate children”, he said in a short clip that the broadcaster already placed online.

Belgium Times report


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Urban rats tested for #coronavirus in Antwerp, Belgium

The serum of 35 rats was tested by MIA showing 3 potentially positive sera that were later shown to be negative by cVNT.  All tissue samples of 39 rats analyzed tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 RNA.

Conclusion This is the first study that evaluates SARS-CoV-2 infection in urban rats. We can conclude that the sample of 39 rats had never been infected with SARS-CoV-2. We show that diagnostic serology tests can give misleading results when applied on non-human samples. SARS-CoV-2 monitoring activities should continue due to the emergence of new variants prone to infect Muridae rodents.

Biorxiv preprint


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#Belgium #prison closes: Half of prisoners are infected with #Coronavirus

The Belgian prison Namur has been closed, just as the inmates have been locked inside their cells after half of them tested positive for coronavirus. It writes AFP.

There are 132 inmates who are corona positive, while 60 out of 115 employees have also been tested positive. An inmate is hospitalized and the situation is described as “very serious”.

Jyllands-Posten report


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