Argentina confirms first case of new variant of coronavirus

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Representative Image

Buenos Aires [Argentina], January 17 (ANI): The government of Argentina on Saturday confirmed the first case of a new coronavirus variant in the country that was first identified in Britain and appears to be more contagious.

The new variant was detected in a traveller who arrived asymptomatic in Argentina from Germany at the end of December 2020, Argentina's Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Roberto Salvarezza wrote on Twitter.

Salvarezza said that the Inter-institutional Genomics Project of SARS-CoV-2 under his ministry first detected the traveller's entry into the country and that studies were carried out at Ezeiza International Airport and determined the presence of SARS-CoV-2 antigens, with a laboratory later confirming the presence of the variant.

Argentina had registered 1,783,047 COVID-19 cases and 45,227 deaths as of Friday.

With an exponential growth in confirmed cases in recent weeks, the Argentine government has extended preventive and mandatory social distancing measures to January 31. (ANI)