The new strain of coronavirus, first identified in the UK in December, has been discovered in Greece and Cyprus, officials from the two health ministries said.
Under the direction of the European Center for Infection Prevention and Control (ECDC), the Cypriot Ministry of Health carried out a special screening of samples from people who had arrived from the UK from the day the country announced the new mutation and two weeks earlier had traveled. and who had been diagnosed with the virus.
The specialized screening revealed that of the 19 samples examined from the two week period, 12 had the new strain. Similarly, an official with Greece’s health ministry told Reuters on Sunday that four cases were found in four passengers who had come into the country from the UK over the Christmas break. The cases are the first of the rapidly spreading coronavirus mutation in the country.
While dozens of countries have banned entry from the UK, Greece accepts flights out of the country, but passengers are required to present a negative PCR test result, which is done within 72 hours of arrival, and take another rapid test upon arrival. If the result is negative, they will need to self-isolate for 10 days and then do another PCR test to end the quarantine.
Passengers traveling to Cyprus from the UK will also be tested upon arrival. They are then taken to local hotels where they must be quarantined for seven days. On the last day, they will receive another COVID test. If the result is negative, they are allowed to leave, but must also remain in self-isolation for another three days.
A study by Imperial College found that the new variant of COVID is more transmissible than the original variant of the virus, first identified in China a year ago, because it increases the reproductive or R number by 0.4-0.7.