THE first cases of the ‘South African’ COVID-19 variant have been reported in the Valencian Community.

The regional health ministry said that three cases of the virulent coronavirus strain have been diagnosed at the Elche General Hospital.

Public health experts are now trying to discover how the strain has spread to the region.

Early investigations have failed to produce a link in any of the three cases over any recent visits to countries that are regarded as ‘risk’ areas.

64 cases of the ‘British’ variant have been detected in the Valencian Community so far.

The first infection involving that variant came from a Elche-based Spaniard last month who flew back into Alicante-Elche airport after a trip to the UK.

The Valencian Community is maintaining the current set of restrictions, including the closure of the hospitality sector, until March 1 in spite of infection rates halving over the last fortnight.

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