4 cases of new COVID-19 variant identified in Madrid

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Madrid [Spain], December 26 (ANI/Sputnik): At least four cases of a new COVID-19 variant that recently emerged in the United Kingdom have been confirmed in Spain's Madrid, Antonio Zapatero, a prominent official in the Spanish capital's administration, said on Saturday, adding that there are three more suspected cases of the new strain.

"We have confirmed four cases of this new British variant in our community to date, and there are now three more suspected cases," Zapatero, who serves as deputy health chief for Madrid's regional government, said at a press conference.

Zapatero, who said that the new variant was first identified in a traveller who had arrived from the United Kingdom, added that those who have been infected with the new strain of the virus are currently not experiencing more severe symptoms than other COVID-19 patients.

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock on December 15 told the House of Commons that a new variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, was identified in roughly 1,000 people in southeast England. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that this variant of the virus could be up to 70 percent more transmissible than previous strains, although it is not yet believed to cause more severe illness.

The discovery of a new virus mutation coincided with the United Kingdom breaking its single-day record for new coronavirus disease cases on multiple occasions. As a result, many European countries have temporarily banned flights to and from the UK. (ANI/Sputnik)