Sweden detects first case of British coronavirus variant

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Stockholm, Dec. 26, 2020 Sweden said on Saturday that it had recorded its first case of the new, apparently more transmissible variant of the coronavirus that appeared in Britain.

A traveller who recently arrived from Britain for the Christmas holidays has tested positive for the new mutated strain, Sara Byfors of the Public Health Agency told a regular press conference.

Other members in the traveller’s household have tested negative, added Signar Makitalo, infectious disease physician with the region of Sodermanland, near Stockholm.

Makitalo said the traveller had been “extremely careful” and sought to limit all risks. The test result was from Dec. 21, and the new strain was confirmed on Saturday.

The traveller – who was not identified by gender, nationality or age – had followed recommendations and self-isolated on arrival in Sweden.

“We cannot rule out that there are other cases,” he said.

Arrivals from Britain were advised to self-isolate for seven days.

“We are collecting samples from everyone who has arrived from Britain since October. This week we urged everyone who has travelled from Britain to test themselves,” Byfors added.

Sweden recently introduced a ban for passenger flights from Britain effective up to and including New Year’s Eve.

The ban did not affect freight planes and ambulance flights, and there were exceptions for urgent family matters.

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