Colombia Detects Cases of Covid-19 Variant First Found in U.K.

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Colombian authorities detected the first cases of the Covid-19 variant that emerged in England last year, and warned that it could already be circulating widely in the country.

Two samples tested positive for the B.1.1.7 variant in the department of Caldas, Health Minister Fernando Ruiz said Friday evening. While the strain isn’t more deadly than other variants, it is more transmissible, he said, raising alarms for a country that’s seeing cases again rise.

“It’s very likely that in the country we already have significant circulation of the British strain,” Ruiz said. “We have to intensify our measures of protection.”

The variant is present elsewhere in Latin America and in dozens of countries across the globe. Coronavirus infections in Colombia have been trending upwards for the past month, leading officials in some cities to order new restrictions. The country has seen more than 2.6 million coronavirus cases, the most in the region after Brazil and Argentina, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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