Three new variants of COVID-19 have been detected in recent weeks, which has led to heightened vigilance across the world, as officials say a variant found in the UK could be up to 70% more transmissible.
However, none of the variants so far have been shown to be more deadly or more likely to evade vaccines or treatments.
A new variant was first reported in the UK on December 14. Named VUI-202012/01 (the first variant under investigation in December 2020), it is believed to have first appeared in mid-September.
Called by some experts the B117 lineage, it quickly became the dominant strain in COVID-19 cases in many parts of the UK.
Last week South Africa reported another new strain that appears to have mutated more than the British variant.
Known as 501.V2, this variant is dominant among new infections confirmed in South Africa.
On December 24, the head of Africa’s disease control body said another strain of COVID-19, known as P681H, had been identified in Nigeria.
It belongs to a distinct lineage from the other mutations but does not appear to spread as quickly as the other two new variants.
Below is a list of countries that have so far reported cases of new strains of coronavirus.
On December 21, Australian health officials said two people from the UK had arrived in the country with the new strain.
The World Health Organization has reported that nine cases of a new variant have been detected in Denmark.
On December 26, health officials in the Canadian province of Ontario reported the first two cases of the COVID-19 variant found in the UK.
The cases are a couple in Durham, an area east of Toronto, with no known travel history, exposure or high-risk contacts, the province said. They are isolated.
December 25 France detected his first case of a new variant in a French national who returned from the British capital on December 19.
He showed no symptoms and was quarantined at his home in the central city of Tours.
On December 23, Italy registered the second case of a new strain of the novel coronavirus near the central city of Ancona, but the patient had no direct contact with the UK, where the variant emerged for the first time.
Laboratory director Stefano Menzo told Italian news agency ANSA that this was not the strain first detected in the UK.
The country had already detected this new COVID-19 strain on December 20 in a person recently arrived from the United Kingdom. The patient landed at Rome Fiumicino airport and is now in quarantine.
December 25 in Japan reported its first five cases of the rapid-release variant among passengers arriving from the UK.
In Lebanon, the country’s interim health minister said on December 25 that a case of the new variant was detected on a flight from London.
Middle East Airlines Flight 202 arrived on December 21, Hamad Hassan said, urging all passengers on the flight and their families to take precautionary measures.
On December 22, Dutch Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said the new variant identified in the UK had been found in two cases in the Amsterdam region.
On December 24, the head of the African disease control body declared a new variant of the novel coronavirus emerged in Nigeria.
The variant was found in two patient samples collected on August 3 and October 9 in Nigeria’s Osun state, according to a working research paper viewed by the Associated Press news agency.
Singapore confirmed its first case of the novel coronavirus variant found in the UK on December 24.
Of the 31 COVID-19 patients who arrived between Nov. 17 and Dec. 17, one was confirmed to carry the B117 strain, while 11 others were found to be previously infected and their confirmation results are pending, the Singapore Ministry of Health.
Spain reported its first four cases of the new variant on December 26. All four infections were linked to a trip to the UK, said Regional Deputy Head of Health Antonio Zapatero.
There are three other suspected cases of the coronavirus variant but test results will not be available until Tuesday or Wednesday, Zapatero said.
South Africa last week reported a new COVID-19 strain that appears to have mutated more than the UK variant. It has made its way in several countries, including the United Kingdom.
Known as 501.V2, this variant is dominant among new infections confirmed in South Africa and appears to be more infectious than the original virus, according to health officials and scientists leading the antivirus strategy. from the country.
The new variant of the coronavirus circulating in the UK was detected in Sweden after a traveler from the UK fell ill on arrival and tested positive, the Swedish Health Agency said on December 26.
Health Agency official Sara Byfors told a press conference that the traveler, who had not been identified, remained in isolation after arriving in Sweden and that no further positive cases were found. ‘had been detected so far.
On December 14, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said more than 1,000 cases of a new variant of the coronavirus had been discovered, mostly in the south of England.
On December 23, Hancock said the country found two cases of another new variant of coronavirus linked to South Africa.
“Both are contacts of cases who have traveled from South Africa in recent weeks,” Hancock said during a press briefing.