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Sweden, Spain confirm cases related to UK Coronavirus variant

The new strain of the virus, which "may be up to 70 per cent more transmissible," also triggered travel restrictions on Britain

Sunday December 27, 2020 9:18 AM, ummid.com with inputs fron IANS

New Covid Cases

Madrid/Stockholm: Sweden and Spain Saturday confirmed first cases related to new Coronavirus variant initially detected in Britain adding to the panic.

At least four cases of the new strain of the Covid-19 have been detected in the Community of Madrid, one of the 17 autonomous regions of Spain, the regional government's deputy health chief Antonio Zapatero said.

All the four cases involved people who recently arrived from Britain, Zapatero told a news conference on Saturday, adding that none of the confirmed cases were serious, Xinhua news agency reported.

"It is more contagious but not more serious," he said, adding that the infected people were not suffering from a more serious disease but rather their symptoms were remarkably like those of other patients with the coronavirus.

The regional government would intensify controls at the Madrid-Barajas airport from where the new strain of the Covid-19 has entered. The airport is the main international airport serving Madrid in Spain.

First case of mutated coronavirus strain in Sweden

A person who travelled from London to Sweden to celebrate Christmas has been confirmed sick with the new and more infectious variant of the coronavirus that has been rapidly spreading in the UK recently.

Sara Byfors of Sweden's Public Health Agency told a news conference on Saturday that the person has been self-isolating since arriving in the southwestern province of Sormland and that no one else in the household has tested positive for Covid-19. However, Byfors added that there are likely more cases in Sweden that have yet to be detected, Xinhua news agency reported.

The person started feeling ill after arriving in Sweden, testing positive for Covid-19 on December 21 after experiencing extreme fatigue and body ache. On Saturday, it was confirmed that the person was infected with the mutated strain of the coronavirus.

Sweden plans more tests

Byfors said that the Public Health Agency has increased its efforts to monitor the new coronavirus strain and is now aiming to collect tests from everyone who has arrived in Sweden from the UK since October.

The highly infectious new strain of the coronavirus recently reported in Britain has prompted British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to announce the new tier four of coronavirus restrictions for London and other parts of England a week ago to combat an alarming surge in infections linked to the new virulent strain.

The new strain of the virus, which "may be up to 70 per cent more transmissible," also triggered travel restrictions on Britain and sounded fresh alarm on Covid-19 which is known to have infected about 80 million people and caused over 1.7 million deaths worldwide.

As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain and the United States are racing to find a vaccine.

According to the website of the World Health Organization, as of December 22, there were 233 Covid-19 candidate vaccines being developed worldwide, and 61 of them were in clinical trials.

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