World

Belgium becomes first nation to introduce mandatory monkeypox quarantine 

Belgium has become the world’s first country to bring in a compulsory quarantine for people with monkeypox.

Health authorities in Belgium introduced the measures Friday after the country reported its third case of the virus. The virus has spread through Europe in the past fortnight, with 20 cases confirmed in the UK and nine other countries confirming outbreaks.

Belgium’s compulsory measures apply only to patients with a confirmed infection. Close contacts are not required to self-isolate but are encouraged to remain vigilant, especially if in contact with vulnerable people.

“Infected persons will have to go into contact isolation until the injuries have healed (they will receive concrete instructions about this from the treating doctor),” a version of the government announcement translated from Dutch said.

The U.K. meanwhile has said those who have a high risk of catching the disease should self-isolate for 21 days. That includes household contacts or medical professionals who may have come into contact with an infected patient.

The disease, which was first found in monkeys, can be transmitted from person to person through close physical contact, which includes sexual intercourse, and is caused by the monkeypox virus.

Dr. Susan Hopkins, a chief medical adviser for UKHSA, said updated figures for the weekend will be released on Monday as she warned of more cases “on a daily basis.” She also warned that doctors are seeing community transmission “largely centred in urban areas and we are predominantly seeing it in individuals who self-identify as gay or bisexual, or other men who have sex with men.”

Speaking to BBC One’s Morning Show, Dr. Hopkins said: “We will be releasing updated numbers tomorrow – over-the-weekend figures. We are detecting more cases on a daily basis, and I’d like to thank all of those people who are coming forward for testing to sexual health clinics, to the GPs and emergency department.”

When pressed on whether there is community transmission in the UK, she said: “Absolutely, we are finding cases that have no identified contact with an individual from west Africa, which is what we’ve seen previously in this country.”

ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH 

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: SCHENGENVISAINFO.COM

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Paul, 37, is from Scotland in the UK, but currently lives and works in Bangkok. Paul has worked in different industries such as telemarketing, retail, hospitality, farming, insurance, and teaching, where he works now. He teaches at an all-girls High School in Bangkok. “It’s a lot of work, but I love my job.” Paul has an active interest in politics. His reason for writing for FBA is to offer people the facts and allow them to make up their own minds. Whilst he believes opinion columns have their place, it is also important that people can have accurate news with no bias.

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