China has detected its first imported case of the new variant of the coronavirus which is spreading rapidly in Britain, according to a publication from the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Countries around the world have cut travel links with Britain to stop the spread of the new variant, which scientists say is 40 to 70% more transmissible than the original virus.
The variant was detected in a 23-year-old female student returning to China from Britain, who was tested in Shanghai on December 14, according to the latest edition of China CDC Weekly published on Wednesday.
The case “poses a significant potential threat to the prevention and control of COVID-19 in China,” the publication said.
The researchers performed gene sequencing on the patient’s sample on Dec. 24 and found the strain to be a variant known as “VUI202012 / 01,” the publication says.
The variant includes a genetic mutation that, in theory, could cause COVID-19 to spread more easily between people.
China will indefinitely suspend direct flights to and from Britain, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said last week.
The patient in Shanghai has been transferred to a medical facility designated for quarantine and an investigation of her close contacts has started, according to the publication.
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