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Saturday 27 February 2021
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New coronavirus strain reported in three European countries, ECDC says

A few cases with the new variant have been reported already by Iceland, Denmark and the Netherlands.

People queuing for a throat and nasal swab at a Covid-19 testing facility in Utrecht, Netherlands.
People queuing for a throat and nasal swab at a Covid-19 testing facility in Utrecht, Netherlands.
Image: PA

CASES OF COVID-19 involving the new coronavirus variant observed in Britain have been reported in at least three other countries in Europe, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has said.

The Stockholm-based agency said in a “threat assessment” that while preliminary analysis in the UK suggests the new variant is “significantly more transmissible”, there is no indication that infections are more severe.

It said “timely efforts” to prevent and control the spread of cases of the new variant are needed.

The ECDC said a few cases with the new variant have been reported already by Iceland, Denmark and the Netherlands.

It also cited media reports of cases in Belgium and Italy.

The EU agency urged health authorities and labs to monitor for the new variant’s spread and alert other EU countries about new cases.

It said studies are ongoing to assess what impact the new variant has on the risk of reinfections or the efficacy of vaccines.

The ECDC said earlier today that there is a lack of evidence on how bad the new variant of the coronavirus is.

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It said that the new strain has an estimated potential to increase the reproductive number (R) by 0.4 or greater, and is estimated to be 70% more transmissible than previous strains.

Several European countries including Ireland have suspended travel from the UK in an effort to stop the spread of the new strain of the virus.

The restrictions came into effect in Ireland at midnight and will remain in place for an initial period of 48 hours before being reviewed.

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