Beijing, December 31: China, widely considered as the global epicentre of coronavirus outbreak, has been hit by the new variant of virus which is responsible for the health crisis in the United Kingdom. The Communist regime on Thursday confirmed the first case of new COVID-19 variant 'B117' as a UK returnee tested positive in Shanghai.
The infected person, a 23-year-old woman, had returned from the UK on December 14 -- a couple of days before China banned all flight operations to and from Britain. She tested positive for the disease last week, and after a genome sequencing was conducted, it was found that the virus which had infected her was not the same as that found in Shanghai and Wuhan earlier. COVID-19 Vaccination in UK: Military Ready to Administer 100,000 Doses Per Day, Says Defence Secretary Ben Wallace.
A further testing of her samples confirmed that the coronavirus which infected her is 'B117', the mutated variant which has led to the spurt of cases in the UK, said a statement issued by the Chinese Centre for Disease Control. The patient is currently hospitalised and suffering from mild symptoms.
China is among the 50 countries that have snapped flights to the UK since a high caseload was reported in the country due to the COVID-19 variant. The travel restrictions are expected to continue till January-end.
The new strain of virus, according to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, is nearly 70 percent more transmissible. The country has been placed under a strict lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19. The vaccination programme has also been ramped up to immunise the vulnerable section of the population at the earliest.