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Coronavirus: 90-year-old infected with 2 variants at once

July 11, 2021

A 90-year-old Belgian woman had been infected with both the alpha and beta variants of coronavirus. Meanwhile, Israel is offering a booster shot for high-risk adults. Follow DW for the latest.

Medical personnel treating coronavirus patient in Belgium
Both the alpha and beta variants have circulated in BelgiumImage: Francisco Seco/AP Photo/picture alliance

A 90-year-old woman in Belgium had been infected by both the alpha and beta variants at the same time before dying of the illness, medical researchers said Saturday. 

The woman was taken to the OLV hospital in the city of Aalst on March 3 and tested positive for the coronavirus during her stay. She was unvaccinated and had been living in a nursing home.

Medical personnel found she had been carrying both the alpha and beta variants of the virus.

The woman's condition began to worsen, and she died five days after her initial diagnosis.

The alpha variant originated in the UK, while the beta variant was first discovered in South Africa.

Molecular biologist Anne Vankeerbergen from the OLV hospital said the woman likely had been infected with two different variants from two different people. Vankeerbergen said it is still unclear how she became infected with the virus.

Here's a look at the latest coronavirus news from around the world: 


While many areas of Germany continue to roll back restrictions amid low case numbers, the incidence rate for the country rose for the fifth day in a row.

Germany's public health body, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), reported 745 new domestic cases on Sunday and six more confirmed deaths.

However, the incidence rate — the number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants over a seven-day period — rose for a fifth day in a row, coming in at 6.2 compared to 5.8 on Saturday.

While the figure remains low, the slight rise in cases comes amid concerns about the spread of the delta variant.

Germany eases restrictions for many travelers

Elsewhere in Germany, the legendary Berghain techno club in Berlin partially reopened on Saturday following a pandemic-prompted shutdown.

For now, the club's garden is the only part of the venue to be open to partygoers. They must be vaccinated, recovered or have tested negative to enter the club garden. Patrons must also wear a mask while in the garden.

Berlin's invincible dance icon

Karl Lauterbach, a Social Democrat member of the Bundestag, hit out at UEFA on Sunday, accusing it of "being responsible for deaths through its ignorant approach" to crowd sizes.

In an interview with the German football website 11Freunde, Lauterbach said allowing 60,000 fans into Wembley is "completely out of control."

Fans need a negative lateral flow test or proof of full vaccination to attend the match.

The final is one of the UK government's test events ahead of plans to scrap all social distancing measures on July 19 on what has been dubbed 'Freedom Day' by some British newspapers.

Another is the annual tennis event, Wimbledon, which has also been played in front of capacity crowds.

Will Euro 2020 further entrench the pandemic?

In Serbia, over 40,000 visitors from all over Europe flocked to the Petrovaradin Fortress above the Danube for the the world-famous Exit festival. The visitors had to provide a negative test result, proof of vaccination, or proof that they have recovered from the coronavirus.  Free testing centers were also set up in the area.

The house and techno festival began on Thursday and ends on Sunday.

While people in England will no longer be legally required to wear masks indoors, the British government says there is "an expectation" that they will continue to do so. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to lift most COVID restrictions in mid-July, despite a sharp surge in cases.

Travelers from Spain now face tougher restrictions when entering Germany after Berlin labeled it a COVID risk area. Starting Sunday, travelers will need to present a negative test or proof of vaccination or recover if they want to avoid quarantine.

Restaurants in Portugal are struggling, with the government imposing on Saturday new restrictions on dining in parts of the country. Portuguese residents in 60 high-risk municipalities are required to either show proof of vaccination, a negative coronavirus test or proof of recovery if they wish to dine indoors.

Middle East

Israel is now offering a third dose of the BioNTech-Pfizer coronavirus vaccine for higher-risk adults. The booster shot is reserved for adults with compromised immune systems who already received their first two jabs.

The move comes as cases are on the rise in Israel. The German and US companies behind the jab said a third, booster shot may be needed after six months, but have not yet released the data showing that risk.

Long COVID: A new challenge


Libya is facing "unprecedented" rise in coronavirus cases, health officials warned. The North African country logged 2,854 new cases on Saturday — a massive jump up from the 719 logged a week earlier. The real figures of cases and COVID deaths are believed to be higher than official figures, after years of conflict have significantly weakened the Libya's health system.

South America

Brazil recorded 1,205 new deaths from the virus on Saturday and 48,504 new cases. The country has had nearly 533,000 deaths from the virus, the second-highest death toll from the disease in the world behind the United States.


Over 600 medical workers in Thailand have contracted COVID-19, despite getting two doses of China's Sinovac jab, the Health Ministry said on Sunday. An expert panel is now recommending a third dose  for medical workers at risk — although the booster dose "will be a different vaccine."

Elsewhere in Thailand, a beauty pageant held last month has turned ugly after police warned they could press charges against those contestants who failed to follow mask-wearing rules.

Thirteen beauty queens and nine other people tested positive for coronavirus after the Miss Grand Samut Sakhon contest in Bangkok, which was held in late June.

Organizers had got permission to hold the event, but had to comply with COVID-19 regulations.

"People who attended the pageant and did not wear masks also (breached) the emergency decree and diseases control laws," Piya Tawichai, deputy commissioner of the metropolitan police told reporters.

South Korea registered 1,324 new cases on Saturday, a decrease from a record 1,378 the day before.

The healthcare system in Indonesia is running out of oxygen as coronavirus cases soar. The country registered a record high of 1,040 new deaths last Wednesday and almost 39,000 confirmed new cases on Thursday and Friday.

The United States and the United Arab Emirates have both offered assistance to Indonesia amid the health crisis.

Mainland China registered 24 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, a decrease from 26 new cases a day earlier.

A major semiconductor company in Taiwan, TSMC, said Sunday it is in the middle of contract signing to procure the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine. Taiwan has accused China of sabotaging direct talks between the Taiwanese government and vaccine manufacturers, as China sees the self-ruling island as one of its provinces. Beijing has denied the allegations.

Taipei has now allowed TSMC to negotiate on its behalf to procure vaccines and then donate the jabs to the government for distribution. The authorities have been criticized for its slow vaccine rollout.


Australia recorded its first death from COVID-19 this year on Sunday. While Australia's anti-pandemic efforts have been mostly successful, the country is currently struggling to contain the Delta virus variant and Sydney is under a three-week lockdown.

wd/dj (AFP,  Reuters, dpa)