THE majority of COVID-19 cases present in Gibraltar during the last wave of the pandemic were from the strain first found in Spain, new data has suggested.

Out of 60 results received from Public Health England for December 27, 2020, to January 5 of this year, only a quarter were of the Kent or British strain.

A total of 565 samples have been send to English labs for processing, with 59 of them having failed to give a valid sequencing result.

The UK lab data was revealed by Chief Minister Fabian Picardo in Parliament yesterday.

The Spanish B.1.177 strain is believed to have been the one that infected most of UK and Western Europe.

A total of 15 B.1.1.7 British variant of the COVID-19 virus were found, although none of these people were hospitalised or died.

This strain was first discovered in Kent and is being called one of the ‘mutations of concern’.

One of the B.1.1.49 strains of the coronavirus was also found, first believed to have originated in Wales.

The Chief Minister told Parliament that ‘the important issue’ is that the third wave in Gibraltar was not started, at least at first, by the Kent variant.

Instead, it originated in Spain and did not arrive via flights from the UK, validating the government’s decision to continue to allow flights.

However, he pointed out this outlook ‘may change once we get more genotyping results back of that third wave in the period of December 2020 to February 2021’.

Today there are 26 active COVID-19 cases on the Rock, ten who are visitors.

Two of those are at St Bernard’s Hospital, although none are in the Critical Care Unit.

Nearly 30,000 people have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

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