Highly-contagious mutant Covid strain found in Aussie patient

UK’s variant Covid-19 strain, believed to be high-contagious, has made it to South Australia, with South Australian health authorities confirming a previously reported case is carrying the strain.

The person infected, who had recently returned from the UK and was in hotel quarantine, has been transferred to Royal Adelaide Hospital for treatment.

They are in stable condition.

“There is no evidence that this variant of the virus causes more severe disease,” Health officials said in a statement on Sunday, dismissing previous reports.

Scientists say the variant is about 40-70 per cent more transmissible than the original strain.

Health worker swabs for driver for coronavirus at testing centre. Source: AAP
UK’s variant Covid-19 strain has made it to South Australia, with authorities confirming an Aussie is carrying the strain. Source: AAP

Last week, NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant confirmed the mutated strain seen in the UK had arrived in NSW.

“Today I’m advised that we’ve had a couple of UK returned travellers with the particular mutations you’re referring to,” Dr Chant told reporters on Monday.

SA records two new Covid cases

South Australia recorded two new cases on Sunday.

The man and woman, both aged in their 30s, had recently returned from overseas and have been quarantining in a hotel since their arrival.

“Results confirm one of these cases is an old infection, however as it is the first time they returned a positive test, the result will still be added to our overall case numbers,” officials said in a statement.

“The other person has been transferred to the Royal Adelaide Hospital and is in a stable condition.”

UK Covid variant seen in France in Spain

Millions of people in the UK have been facing tough new coronavirus restrictions with Scotland and Northern Ireland demanding tighter measures to try to halt a new variant of the virus that is believed to spread more quickly.

Meanwhile, the first cases of the UK's new Covid-19 variant have now been detected in France and Spain. Two cases have been confirmed in Canada.

In the UK, Northern Ireland went into a six-week lockdown on Saturday while restrictions in Wales that were relaxed for Christmas Day were also re-imposed.

Passengers from London arrive at the Eurostar terminal in Paris on December 23. Source: AAP
The first cases of the UK's new Covid-19 variant have now been detected in France and Spain. Source: AAP

As of Monday afternoon, the UK had recorded a total of 2.28 million Covid cases and 70,752 deaths.

Fears about the UK's new variant have sparked a week of border chaos as thousands of European workers try to flee Britain.

Across the English Channel, the French public health agency has confirmed that a Frenchman living in England arrived in France on December 19 and tested positive for the new variant on Friday.

He has no symptoms and is isolating at his home in the central city of Tours.

Health authorities in the Madrid region of Spain said they had confirmed the UK variant in four people, all of whom are in good health.

Regional health chief Enrique Ruiz Escudero said the new strain had arrived when an infected person flew into Madrid's airport.

with AAP

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