New COVID Variant Discovered in Germany Among 35 Hospital Patients
It is unclear how contagious or dangerous the new strand of the virus is.
A new variant of the coronavirus was detected in southern Germany on Monday, 18 January. The new variant was detected in 35 people at a hospital in the town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen after 73 patients and staff members at the Bavarian facility tested positive for COVID-19, reported Al Jazeera.
Deutsche Welle reported that it is unclear how contagious or dangerous the new strand is. The report quoted the managing director of the Garmisch-Partenkirchen Frank Niederbühl as saying, "the mere fact that it's a new variant doesn't mean it's more infectious."
The report further quoted the deputy medical director, Clemens Stockklausner, who said: "We have to wait for the complete sequencing. We cannot say at all at the moment whether this (mutation) has any clinical relevance.”
Samples of the variant have been sent to Charite Hospital in the capital, Berlin, for further examination, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported.
Following the discovery of the new strand, Chancellor Angela Merkel has declared restrictions including the closure of schools and shops will be extended until mid-February.
The Chancellor added that Germany may need to consider border crossing curbs if other European countries do not act to halt the spread of the virus.
“We can do anything we like, but we will not succeed if others are not working in parallel,” she said.
On Tuesday, the country's disease control center reported 11,369 newly confirmed infections and 989 deaths, for an overall death toll of 47,622.
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