Austria detects British and South African coronavirus mutations

Austria detects British and South African coronavirus mutations
Austrian health workers and military at a test centre in Vienna. Photo: ALEX HALADA / AFP
Despite restrictions on incoming flights, five cases of the British and South African coronavirus mutations have been discovered in Austria.

The five mutations were detected on Monday. Four were of the British variety, while one case of the South African mutation was detected. 

The mutations were detected in two adults and three children. 

Austria’s Health Minister Rudolf Anschober said there was “very widespread concern” in Europe about the UK mutation of the virus, Kurier reports.  

READ: Austria to extend coronavirus lockdown

The South African variant was found in an Austrian woman who is in quarantine after returning home from a vacation in the country on December 6th. 

One case of the British variant was detected in a man who landed on one of the last flights from the UK before Christmas. The man tested positive on arrival and is now in quarantine with his sister, Kurier reports. 

The three other cases are all in people under the age of 12, including one who returned to Austria on December 18th and two children from Slovakia. 

Andreas Bergthaler, scientist at MedUni Vienna, told a press conference that it was as yet unclear how widespread the coronavirus mutations were. 

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Bergthaler said that while the virus appeared to be more infectious, there were no indications that symptoms of the virus were more pronounced. 

“According to British calculations, we know that the variant is more infectious. However, there are no known changes in the course of the disease.”

While there were early indications that the mutation may be more easily spread in children, Bergthaler said this may be a coincidence and more testing needed to be done. 

Hundreds of tests have been carried out in Austria, including taking samples from sewage treatment plants. 

Austria put in place a ban on flights from the United Kingdom on December 21st, later extending that to South Africa. 

Anschober said strict entry restrictions would remain in place in order to restrict the spread of the virus mutation. 

 

 


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