COVID19: ECDC finds UK strain in a quarter of Cyprus samples

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The more potent UK variant of coronavirus has been found in nearly a quarter of samples Cyprus has sent to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) for special laboratory tests.

The Health Ministry sent another 94 COVID-19 positive samples from Cyprus for sequencing SARS-CoV-2 variants.

It said sequencing was successful in 47 out of 94 positive samples identified in January, while the UK strain of the virus was detected in three of those samples.

So far, the Health Ministry has received the results for 130 successfully sequenced strains of the virus (83+47) from ECDC; the UK strain was detected in 31 samples or 23.8% of cases.

The new variant of the coronavirus, now spreading worldwide, was first found in Britain and is more transmissible than the original variant of the virus first identified in China a year ago.

Other new variants were found in South Africa and Brazil.

Since the outbreak first surfaced in Cyprus in March 2020, 35,620 have been infected, and 232 people have died.

Until 31 March, UK arrivals must undergo a COVID-19 test upon their arrival at Larnaca or Paphos Airports.

They are transported to designated hotels – free of charge – for mandatory 7-day isolation.

After that, they undergo another PCR test and remain in self-isolation for another three days if negative.

The Transport Ministry introduced the practice after the discovery of a more potent strain of the virus identified in Britain.