A case of Covid-19 with the new variant has been confirmed in Belgium, according to a virologist.

It is the first confirmed case of the "most worrying" variant scientists have seen to date. 

Virologist Marc Van Ranst said that the B.1.1.529 variant was found in someone returning to Belgium from Egypt on November 11.

He said the person first showed symptoms of the new variant on November 22.

"In Belgium, one sample was confirmed as the novel B.1.1.529 variant (in a returning traveller from Egypt (11/11); first symptoms on 22/11)," he said on Twitter.


It comes after an expert from the Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has said the latest strain of Covid-19 could already be in the UK.

The government has already updated its red list banning all flights from South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe, effective midday on Friday November 26 until 4am Sunday November 28. 

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the government will not hesitate to add other countries to the red list and discussions around this are "very live". 

“We are keeping this under review and there’s very live discussions going on about whether we should and when we might add further countries, and we won’t hesitate to act if we need to do so.”