THE first cases of the Indian variant of COVID-19 have been detected in a Malaga testing centre.

The two individual cases were detected at the Hospital Clínico Universitario after suspicious test results were sent to Granada for sequencing.

It emerged that the two tests in question were of the B.1.617 Indian variant, marking a dubious milestone of being the first cases in Malaga province.

The patients have been isolated and a tracking process is being carried out to discover how it was caught to better understand how the variant is spreading.

Although cases of the prevalent strain in Spain are relatively low, cases are slowly rising but according to regional health authorities, still do not present a cause for concern, yet.

A statement from the Malaga Health Authority has stressed that the discovery of the Indian variant, along with a rise in incidence rates across the province stresses the need to stop the relaxation of restrictions.

“We will finish sooner if we comply with the warning recommendations, such as the use of masks, hygiene, maintaining social distance; extreme precautions are what will shorten the deadlines to return to normal,” read a statement.

So far, several outbreaks of the B.1.617 variant have been detected in Spain, with 39 cases recorded as of two days ago according to the Ministry of Health, with a further outbreak in northern Spain under study.

These figures are in stark contract to the UK, which now reports that almost 60% of active cases are now considered the Indian variant.

According to the WHO, it is also present now in 26 countries across the EU and is unique in its ability to spread more quickly than other previous variants.

The news comes as Malaga’s incidence rate has risen from 132.2 cases per 100,000 yesterday to 147.9 cases this morning, putting the region dangerously close to the 150 threshold for restrictions to be imposed.

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