Northern Ireland confirms the positive case of the COVID-19 variant

FILE PHOTO: Closed and covered pub seen in Belfast after coronavirus disease outbreak (COVID-19), Belfast, Northern Ireland, May 7, 2020. REUTERS / Jason Cairnduff

(Reuters) – Northern Ireland on Wednesday confirmed a positive test for a highly contagious variant of the coronavirus that has emerged in Britain.

The Department of Health of Northern Ireland said here that the variant was probably present in a region run by the British for some time.

There was no evidence to suggest that the variant causes more serious diseases or a higher mortality rate or that it affects vaccines and treatments, it added.

A new variant of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic is spreading rapidly in Britain and is causing high concern among Europe’s neighbors, some of whom have cut off transport links.

“Although the mutation in the virus is not uncommon, the potential of this new strain to spread rapidly is a cause for serious concern,” a Northern Ireland chief medical officer said in a statement.

Last week, Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom, announced that almost everyone would be subject to the highest level of restrictions after Christmas, as it enters a six-week blockade in an attempt to curb the sharp rise in COVID-19 cases.

Reporting to Aakriti Bhalle and Kanishke Singh in Bengaluru; Edited by Leslie Adler and Nick Macfie