Cyprus reports 12 cases of new coronavirus variant in arrivals from UK

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NICOSIA (Reuters) - Cyprus has discovered 12 cases of the new coronavirus variant in people who recently travelled from Britain, the health ministry said on Sunday.

The new variant of the coronavirus, now spreading around the world, was first found in Britain and is more transmissible than the original variant of the virus first identified in China a year ago. Another recent new variant was first found in South Africa.

Of 19 positive tests for COVID-19 recorded on individuals who arrived in Cyprus from Britain between Dec. 6-20, Cypriot authorities found that 12 were for the new variant, the health ministry said.

Cyprus has reported a sharp surge in COVID-19 cases in the past three weeks, with cases on the island occasionally exceeding 600 a day. Since the outbreak first surfaced in Cyprus in early March and until Jan. 2, 23,445 people had been infected, and 129 people have died.

(Reporting by Michele Kambas; Editing by Susan Fenton)