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COVID variant first detected in South Africa identified in Britain

Health minister fears latest strain poses a more serious threat to UK

Passengers wearing protective masks walk to the check-in counters at the O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, on December 22.   © Reuters

LONDON/JOHANNESBURG (Financial Times) -- A new coronavirus variant first detected in South Africa has been identified in the UK, as scientists warned of the risks posed by the growing number of Covid-19 mutations.

Two cases of the 501.V2 strain, which has caused a recent surge of Covid-19 infections in South Africa, have been identified in contacts of people who had arrived from the country in the past fortnight, Matt Hancock, UK health secretary, said on Wednesday.

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