First four cases of UK variant strain of coronavirus found in Thailand
The fast-spreading variant of the virus which causes COVID-19, first identified in the UK, has been found in Thailand in a family of four Britons who arrived from Kent, in southeast in England, and are currently in quarantine at a private hospital, according to Dr. Yong Pooworavan, chief of the Virology Centre of the Faculty of Medicine at Chulalongkorn University.
He said in his Facebook post today (Sunday) that the UK strain, known as the B.1.1.7., is 70% more transmissible than the other variants. Due to the fast-spreading nature of this variant, several countries have suspended all flights from the UK.
Dr. Yong said, however, that there is no cause of alarm as the UK strain does not cause severe symptoms and will not reduce the efficacy of vaccines. He also assured that special precautions have been taken to ensure the variant does not leak out of the hospital in which the British mother, father and two children are quarantined.
The UK variant was first detected on September 21st, and had spread across the UK by November, according to the World Health Organization. Since then, it has become the most common variant in England, representing more than 50% of new cases diagnosed between October and December.
According to Science Magazine, some scientists believe that the virus may have mutated in a person who was immunocompromised.
Meanwhile, all shopping malls in Thailand will close at 9pm starting on Monday.
The Thai Retailers and Thai Shopping Centre Associations issued a statement today (Sunday) saying that they will cooperate fully with the government to contain the spread of coronavirus.