Spain has registered its first cases of a coronavirus variant believed to be particularly infectious that emerged in Britain, Madrid’s regional government said on Saturday.
The highly infectious coronavirus variant originally discovered in Britain has been detected in California, Governor Gavin Newsom said. The new variant has also been detected in Canada, Australia, India, South Korea and Japan, among others.
A new strain of COVID-19 that reached Ireland from the UK is now spreading at a rapid rate, Prime Minister Micheal Martin announced in a televised address on Wednesday.
“While international research for this new variant is ongoing, it is already very clear that we are dealing with a strain of the disease that spreads much, much more quickly,” he said.
“It is spreading at a rate that has surpassed the most pessimistic models available to us,” said Martin, adding that Ireland would tighten public-health restrictions in the next four weeks.
The prime minister ordered nonessential retailers to be closed and extended the travel ban on arrivals from the UK and South Africa until January 6.
Scientists believe that the new strain is significantly more contagious than others previously identified, but is no more severe in the symptoms that it causes.
UK variant, known as B.1.1.7, has also been found in Canada, Italy, India and the United Arab Emirates.