THE ‘British variant’ of coronavirus is already spreading among the population of Andalucia after being flown in from the UK, the regional government has revealed.
The Junta’s health minister Jesus Aguirre told a press conference today that at least one person who had not been in Britain has tested positive for the more contagious strain.
It means that the carrier caught the mutant strain from someone who had recently travelled back from the UK, already infected with the variant.
Aguirre said it is the first case of its kind, with the other four confirmed carriers having recently returned from Britain.
Aguirre again demanded the central Government step up checks at arrivals in airports across the country.
“Attention should be paid to passengers’ symptoms when they arrive, in addition to their PCR test,” he told press Tuesday.
Currently only citizens or residents of Spain can fly into the country, and they must present a negative PCR test taken up to 72 hours before landing.
But this has proven insufficient in stopping the virus, particularly the new strain, from entering Spain.
There are currently seven other people suspected of being infected by the new variant in Andalucia.
“There are seven people, five from Malaga, one from Ronda and another from Huercal-Overa,” said Aguirre.
The health leader said the evolution of all seven is good, although one has required hospitalisation ‘to prevent possible further infections.’
The new strain is up to 70% more contagious but is not believed to be more harmful.
Pfizer has already said its vaccine will still prove effective against the mutation, but added it would be running tests.
It comes as the southernmost region detected 780 new cases on Tuesday, up from the 567 detected on Monday.
Meanwhile there were 48 deaths from the virus in the past 24 hours, 14 more than the previous day.