COVID-19 variant identified in Nigeria detected in China's Guangdong province
The Chinese CDC said the original sample indicated that it was a mutated strain found in Nigeria which is reportedly circulating in 26 countries.
Amid cases of imported coronavirus infections in China, Guangdong Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Guangdong CDC) detected B.1.525 COVID-19 variant identified in Nigeria from two imported COVID-19 cases for the first time, reports said.
According to China's state-run Global Times, "the two cases, both asymptomatic COVID-19 infected patients, were discovered in closed-loop management and reported as asymptomatic infections on February 21."
The Chinese CDC said the original sample indicated that it was a mutated strain found in Nigeria which is reportedly circulating in 26 countries. The new strain is reportedly more transmissible and prone to cause antibody neutralisation.
The Guangdong CDC had received nasopharyngeal swabs from Guangzhou on March 5 as it began virus isolation and genome sequencing analysis.
China recorded at least 20 imported coronavirus cases on Saturday and another 183 on Sunday, according to the National Health Commission as the country continues to battle the crisis.
The country is set to launch a digital "health passport" in its attempt to kickstart international travel. Authorities have established a nationwide system of digital "health codes" to combat the virus with users asked to scan a QR code to get a "green" pass in the health app in public places.
Currently, Chinese citizens can download new digital certificates and use them to enter and leave the country.
The virus which was first reported by the Chinese authorities to the WHO on December 31, 2019, has killed over 2.65 million people and infected over 119,839 even as several countries have begun their vaccination drive.