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China confirms first case of UK COVID-19 variant



A 23-year-old woman from Shanghai who arrived from Britain on December 14, has become the first known case of a new coronavirus variant that was recently detected in the United Kingdom, health officials said.

The Chinese Centre for Disease Control stated this in a research note published Wednesday.

The new strain, which experts say potentially spreads faster than the original variant, has prompted travel restrictions in the UK by more than 50 countries — including China, where the coronavirus first emerged late last year.

Read also: China bans Int’l flights from UK over mutant COVID-19 strain

She was hospitalised on arrival as she showed mild symptoms. Health experts conducted a genetic sequencing of her test samples on December 24 “due to travel history from the UK and abnormalities in nucleic acid test results”, the China CDC said.

The patient was found to have a strain different to those found in Shanghai or Wuhan earlier, and further testing confirmed it was the variant known as B.1.1.7 that has been spreading in the UK since October.

Health authorities have carried out contact-tracing, the CDC statement added.

China suspended direct flights to and from Britain indefinitely on December 24 because of the new strain.

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