China verified the first case of a new variant of coronavirus recently found in Britain, said, health officials.
The latest strain, which experts claim theoretically spreads faster than the original version, has led more than 50 countries, including China, where the coronavirus first appeared late last year, to travel restrictions in the United Kingdom.
A 23-year-old woman from Shanghai who arrived from Britain on December 14 is the first patient with the latest variant in China, the Chinese Centre for Disease Control said in a research note published Wednesday.
On arrival, she was hospitalized as she exhibited mild symptoms. “On December 24, “due to travel records from the UK and anomalies in nucleic acid test results,” health experts conducted a genetic sequencing of their test samples,” the China CDC said.
The patient was found to have a strain different from those found earlier in Shanghai or Wuhan, and further research indicated that since October it was the form known as B.1.1.7 which has been spreading in the UK.
Contact-tracing has been performed by health authorities, the CDC statement said.
On December 24, China suspended direct flights to and from Britain indefinitely due to the latest pressure.
The latest strain “may be up to 70 percent more transmissible than the original version of the disease” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said.
But there is no evidence to indicate so far that infection with the new strain is more likely to contribute to or raise the risk of death in a serious case of Covid-19.