"This variant is not limited to the U.K. and has already been detected elsewhere in the world," Belgium's COVID-19 spokesman Yves Van Laethem said, adding that his country has 4 cases of the new variant.
The mutation was detected in September in the United Kingdom, where 60 percent of new infections are related to the new strain.
"There are other variants that circulate in our country and other countries... It is totally normal that variants appear and become dominant," added Van Laethem, who explained that it is not known yet if the new variant is transmitted more easily because more data are required to see if it really is more contagious.
"Nothing shows us that the new strain is more violent, aggressive, or dangerous to our health. Nothing indicates that it prevents vaccines from giving us immunity."
The Belgian expert attributed the fact that the variant has been identified in the UK to the fact that the British have one of the most efficient and comprehensive genetic surveillance and research programs in the world. This has allowed them to analyze up to 10 percent of the samples to find out their genetic makeup.
On Sunday, Belgium, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Austria, Canada, and Israel announced that they were temporarily closing air connections with the United Kingdom because of the new coronavirus variant.