NICOSIA (Reuters) – A extremely contagious variant of COVID-19 first recognized in Britain is now predominant in Cyprus, its well being ministry stated on Friday, linking it to a current surge in infections.
The ministry stated all 111 optimistic samples taken in March and despatched to the European Centre for Illness Prevention and Management had been discovered to be the variant often known as B.1.1.7, which was first found in Britain late final yr.
The outcomes clarify a current spike in infections because the pressure is about 50 % extra contagious than the extra frequent COVID-19 pressure, the well being ministry stated.
An earlier comparability with January and February samples, launched in March, confirmed the British variant accounted for a couple of quarter of all instances.
After a relative lull, the variety of coronavirus instances in Cyprus began climbing in late February and regardless of restrictions on motion nonetheless in drive, infections stay stubbornly excessive.
As of Thursday, Cyprus had reported a complete of 49,988 COVID-19 infections and 268 deaths because the begin of the pandemic. The numbers cowl the south of the island managed by the worldwide recognised authorities and don’t embody instances within the breakaway Turkish Cypriot north.
Cyprus first reported instances of the British variant in early January after assessments on optimistic samples taken in December 2020.
Cyprus has had a widespread testing plan in place for months, providing free and obligatory fast assessments as soon as every week for many of the inhabitants.
(Writing By Michele Kambas; Modifying by Gareth Jones)