Spain detects first cases of infectious British Covid variant

Spain detects first cases of infectious British Covid variant
People wearing face masks queue to get tested for COVID-19 at Gibraltar International Airport on December 22. Photo: Jorge Guerrero/AFP
Four cases of the infectious coronavirus variant that recently emerged in Britain have now been confirmed in Madrid, the regional government said on Saturday.
The cases are the first so far detected in Spain. All four cases involved people who recently arrived from the UK, the Madrid regional government's deputy health chief Antonio Zapatero told a news conference.
   
“The patients are not seriously ill, we know that this strain is more transmissible, but it does not cause more serious illness,” he said. “There is no need for alarm,” Zapatero added.
 
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There are another three suspected cases of the coronavirus variant but the results of tests will only be available on Tuesday or Wednesday, Zapatero said.
   
 
The new strain of the virus, which experts fear is more contagious, has prompted more than 50 countries including Spain to impose travel restrictions on the UK.
   
Madrid has since Tuesday banned all entries from the United Kingdom except for Spanish nationals and residents.

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