Coronavirus New Strain Latest Update: Since the new COVID-19 strain has been discovered in the United Kingdom, fear and panic have spread across the globe. Also Read - No New UK Coronavirus Strain Reported in Past 24 Hours in India: Health Ministry
The new variant of the virus, which might be up to 70% more transmissible, was first detected in the UK in September but has spread rapidly since then. Also Read - Delhi Government Extends COVID Guidelines for UK Returnees Till January 31
The new variant has brought some countries to close their borders and tighten their travel restrictions even further. Also Read - Number of People Tested Positive For New Coronavirus Strain in India Jumps to 82
Here is a list of all the countries where the new coronavirus strain has already been identified:
The United Kingdom was the first country to report the new variant of the coronavirus back in September. Earlier this month, the country’s health minister, Matt Hancock, said the new variant was “getting out of control,” prompting the government to put millions of people under stricter lockdown measures for Christmas and a host of countries to block travel from the UK.
France detected its first case of a new variant on Christmas Day. The individual was a French national who returned from London.
Germany recorded its first case of the mutant coronavirus variant after a woman who flew into Frankfurt from London Heathrow tested positive on December 20.
Italian officials said this week they identified the strain in a couple who flew from the UK to Rome.
A couple in Ontario, Canada, tested positive for the new strain of the virus on December 26. They had no known travel history or high-risk contacts and are now in self-isolation, officials said.
Nine cases of a new variant were detected in Denmark, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported this week.
Swedish authorities detected the new strain after a traveler from the UK fell ill on arrival and tested positive, Sweden’s health agency said on Saturday. The infected individual has been kept isolated and no other cases have been reported so far.
Four cases of the new coronavirus variant have been confirmed in Spain, health authorities said on Saturday. All involve people who recently arrived from the UK.
“The patients are not seriously ill. We know that this strain is more transmissible, but it does not cause more serious illness,” said Madrid’s regional government’s deputy health chief, Antonio Zapatero, according to the Guardian. “There is no need for alarm.”
Three people tested positive for the new coronavirus strain in Switzerland, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) said on Saturday. Two of the patients lived in the UK but had been visiting the country.
“All close contacts have been identified and quarantined,” a FOPH spokeswoman said, Swiss Info reported.
Switzerland is the only European country keeping its ski slopes open to tourism over the Christmas and New Year period.
Japan reported its first five cases of the fast-spreading virus variant on December 25.
Japanese officials also ordered a travel suspension on Monday, which is expected to run through January and temporarily ban non-resident foreign nationals from entering the country.
Japanese citizens and foreign residents will be allowed to enter but must show proof of a negative coronavirus test 72 hours before departing for Japan and quarantine for two weeks.
On Friday, Lebanon’s Health Minister Hamad Hassan said that a case of the new variant was detected on a flight arriving from London on December 21. Hassan urged all passengers on the flight to take precautionary measures.
The Netherlands was one of the first European countries to announce that it found the new virus variant after the UK. On December 22, Dutch Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said the new variant was found in two cases in the Amsterdam area.
Singapore’s health ministry confirmed on December 24 that it too had one case of the new coronavirus variant.
Two cases of the new variant have been detected in New South Wales, Australia, after a flight arrived from the UK, the state’s chief health officer Kerry Chant said this week.
The UK detected two cases of another new variant of coronavirus in South Africa, British health secretary Matt Hancock said on Thursday.
Another new variant of the coronavirus was reported in Nigeria on December 24. It is separate from the ones found in the UK and South Africa.
John Nkengasong, the head of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reported on Thursday that health officials analyzed more samples and that little is so far known about the variant.
“Give us some time…it’s still very early,” Nkengasong said, according to Al Jazeera.
What about India?
With people coming in from the UK, one cannot rule out the possibility of the new viral strain coming to India.
As per a tweet by news agency ANI, the health department in Kozhikode has conducted a study where a slight change in the viral strain has been observed. In order to be completely sure, research to check the new viral strain is being conducted in all districts of Kerala. However, according to Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja, the strain found in Kerala positive cases is not like the one found in the UK.
Meanwhile, officials in India are trying to identify and locate people who have recently travelled from the UK.
(With inputs from different agencies)