South Korea detects first coronavirus variant cases

Agence France-Presse . Seoul | Published: 10:45, Dec 28,2020

 
 

A medical staff member wearing protective gear takes a swab from a visitor to test for COVID-19 at a temporary testing station outside the City Hall in Seoul on December 28, 2020. — AFP photo

Three cases of a particularly infectious coronavirus variant that recently emerged in Britain have been confirmed in South Korea, health authorities said on Monday.

The three individuals are members of a London-based family who arrived in the country on December 22, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.

They have been placed in isolation since testing positive for COVID-19 on arrival, the KDCA statement said.

The new strain of the virus emerged earlier this month in Britain and had already reached several European countries, as well as Canada, Jordan and Japan.

The new strain, which experts fear is more contagious, prompted more than 50 countries to impose travel restrictions on Britain.

South Korea was among them and had barred flights from Britain until the end of the year.

South Korean authorities were also looking into the case of an elderly South Korean man who posthumously tested positive for COVID-19 after returning from Britain earlier this month.

The announcement came as a third wave of the virus grips the country, with a resurgence centred on the greater Seoul area seeing daily cases climb to over 1,000 several times this month despite stricter distancing measures.

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