Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Germany: New COVID variant discovered, extended lockdown looms | Al Jazeera

Germany: New COVID variant discovered, extended lockdown looms

Health officials in Germany are investigating a new strain of coronavirus that was discovered in the southern state of Bavaria.



The development comes amid mounting global concern over emergent virus variants, at least two of which – one first found in the United Kingdom and another recorded initially in South Africa – are hastening the spread of the pandemic.

The new variant was detected in 35 people at a hospital in the town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen on Monday after 73 patients and staff members at the Bavarian facility tested positive for COVID-19.

Hospital authorities confirmed the mutation was different from the two highly infectious mutations causing concern.

Deputy medical director Clemens Stockklausner told reporters it was not yet clear whether the new strain in Germany was any more deadly or infectious.

“We cannot say at all at the moment whether this [mutation] has any clinical relevance,” he said. “We have to wait for the complete sequencing.”

Samples of the variant have been sent to Charite Hospital in the capital, Berlin, for further examination, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported...

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