Cases of the new UK coronavirus variant have been confirmed in Slovakia

The new strain of coronavirus spreads faster than the original one, and affects younger people.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston
Published on 05.01.2021 08:48 (updated on 05.01.2021)

The new coronavirus strain that was detected in Britain at the end of the year has been confirmed in Slovakia, Slovak Health Minister Marek Krajčí said last night.

Laboratories already received the first samples of the English strain, which is more infectious than the original one, just before the end of the year, Krajčí said.

"The new variant of the coronavirus spreading from southern England was also confirmed in Slovakia," Krajčí said.

The laboratories have already identified the English strain in the first samples originating from the eastern Slovak district of Michalovce, he added.

"Importantly, its spread is more common among people under the age of 60 and intensely among children. The clinical signs and mortality of the disease of the new variant are unchanged compared to the original virus," Krajčí said on Facebook, adding that the strain has a 70 percent higher ability to spread.

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Austria on Monday also confirmed the coronavirus mutation that first detected in England in mid-December.

It was also detected in two Slovak children aged 9 and 10 who were tested at the airport in Vienna.

The strain is believed to have already been present in southern England in November. The strain has higher reproduction (R) rate, which shows how contagious a disease is based on the number of people infected by each person with the disease. The rate for the new strain is 0.7, even with social distancing, while the rate was 0.4 for the previous strain.

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More than 50 countries including the Czech Republic imposed travel restrictions on flights from Britain in December when the strain was first reported.