Argentina detects first case of British coronavirus variant

Argentina detects first case of British coronavirus variant
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16 January 2021
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Argentina has detected its first case of a British-identified coronavirus variant that appears to be more infectious, authorities said Saturday.

The infection was discovered in a man who arrived from Britain in Argentina in late December without symptoms of the disease.

Authorities "detected the variant of SARS-CoV-2 from the United Kingdom in a traveller," Science, Technology & Innovation Minister Roberto Salvarezza said wrote Twitter, identifying the strain as "VOC202012/01."

"It has already been reported to health authorities," he added.

The man is under quarantine at an address in Buenos Aires City, according to reports.

Since first being reported to the World Health Organisation in mid-December, the British-identified variant has been found in dozens of countries.

This strain is believed to be more easily transmissible because of a mutation of the spike protein, the part of the virus which latches on to human cells.

Argentina, with a population of 44 million, has seen 1.78 million cases of Covid-19 and 45,227 deaths since March. Last week, the government began warning of a surge of cases and banned night-time activities and gatherings of more than 10 people. 

Direct flights from Britain have been prohibited.

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