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The New Arab Staff

New UK Covid-19 variant found in Bangladesh, Israel

The variant has left the UK [Getty]

Date of publication: 24 December, 2020

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Both Bangladesh and Israel this week announced that the new coronavirus variant from the UK has hit their countries.

Bangladesh and Israel have discovered that the new variant of Covid-19 that was found in the UK has entered their countries.

The Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (BCSIR) announced on Thursday that the same variant of coronavirus found in the UK has been found in the South Asian country.

‪“When we carried out genome sequencing on samples early November this year, then we understood that the new variant we found was nearly similar to the variant found in the UK and Peru,” BCSIR Principal Scientific Officer Dr Salim Khan said while confirming the matter to Dhaka Tribune.

"However, we are not sure where the present mutation of the virus in Bangladesh is as infectious at the UK variant. Only after completing the genome sequencing at our lab, we will understand the transmissibility of the newly-mutated virus,” he added.

Read also: Coronavirus dampens Christmas joy in Bethlehem and elsewhere

According to the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control And Research (IEDCR), travellers from the UK have been a major source of virus transmission to Bangladesh.

Israel's health ministry on Wednesday said four cases of the new, highly infectious variant of the coronavirus that has emerged in Britain has been detected.

Three of the cases were returnees from England and are isolating at a hotel designated as a coronavirus quarantine facility, the health ministry said. The fourth case is under investigation, it added.

Alarm bells are ringing across Europe - which last week became the first region in the world to pass 500,000 deaths from Covid-19 - after it appeared that a more infectious strain of the virus was raging in parts of Britain.

Over the last week, Britain announced two new roaming variants of the novel Covid-19 -- one which seems to originate from southeast England and the other from South Africa.

UK Health Minister Matt Hancock announced further restrictions in parts of the country, including the capital city, London.

"This new variant is highly concerning, because it is yet more transmissible, and it appears to have mutated further than the new variant that has been discovered in the UK," Hancock said, referring to a strain of the virus discovered in Britain which has also been found to be more contagious.

The health minister said that all individuals in the UK who had contracted the variant originating in South Africa had been placed in quarantine as well as their close contacts.

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