JOHANNESBURG—Europe recorded its first case of the fast-spreading new coronavirus variant and dozens of countries restricted travel to and from southern Africa—where it was first detected—amid concerns that it could be more contagious than previous strains and render Covid-19 vaccines less effective.

Belgian authorities said Friday that one case of the variant had been recorded in the country. The person had traveled from abroad, was unvaccinated and hadn’t been infected with Covid-19 previously, Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke said.

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