Brazil is detecting two cases of new coronavirus variants found in the UK

FILE PHOTO: People walk in a popular street market before Christmas, amid the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, December 23, 2020. REUTERS / Pilar Olivares

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – A Brazilian laboratory said on Thursday it had detected two cases of the new coronavirus variant that was spreading rapidly in the UK and called for increased quarantine measures for travelers coming from Europe.

The diagnostic medicine company Dasa said in a statement that it detected the strain SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 through genetic sequencing performed in partnership with the Institute of Tropical Medicine of the University of Sao Paulo.

“The sequencing confirmed that the new strain of the virus has arrived in Brazil,” said researcher Ester Sabino of the Institute of Tropical Medicine.

The new variant quickly became the dominant strain in COVID-19 cases in parts of southern England and was linked to an increase in hospitalization rates. Australia, Italy and the Netherlands say they have detected cases of new strain.

Scientists say that although it is not more lethal than the original strain, it is significantly more transmissible.

“Given its high transmission power, this result reinforces the importance of quarantining and maintaining isolation for 10 days, especially for those who come or have just arrived from Europe,” Sabino said.

Reporting by Paula Arend Laier; Written by Anthony Boadle; Montage by Peter Graff