Spain detects 4 cases related to new coronavirus variant

At least four cases of a new strain of the Covid-19 which was reported in Britain have been detected in the Community of Madrid, one of the 17 autonomous regions of Spain, the regional government’s deputy health chief Antonio Zapatero said.

All the four cases involved people who recently arrived from Britain, Zapatero told a news conference on Saturday, adding that none of the confirmed cases were serious, Xinhua news agency reported.

“It is more contagious but not more serious,” he said, adding that the infected people were not suffering from a more serious disease but rather their symptoms were remarkably like those of other patients with the coronavirus.

The regional government would intensify controls at the Madrid-Barajas airport from where the new strain of the Covid-19 has entered. The airport is the main international airport serving Madrid in Spain.

The highly infectious new strain of the coronavirus recently reported in Britain has prompted British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to announce the new tier four of coronavirus restrictions for London and other parts of England a week ago to combat an alarming surge in infections linked to the new virulent strain.

The new strain of the virus, which “may be up to 70 per cent more transmissible,” also triggered travel restrictions on Britain and sounded fresh alarm on Covid-19 which is known to have infected about 80 million people and caused over 1.7 million deaths worldwide.

As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain and the United States are racing to find a vaccine.

According to the website of the World Health Organization, as of December 22, there were 233 Covid-19 candidate vaccines being developed worldwide, and 61 of them were in clinical trials.