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Australian authorities say we need to assume the UK COVID-19 variant will become the dominant strain. This is where the virus has spread so far

Australian authorities say we need to assume the UK COVID-19 variant will become the dominant strain. This is where the virus has spread so far
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It’s been about five weeks since the UK Health Minister announced a new strain of the coronavirus.

Since then, the UK COVID-19 variant has spread to at least 45 countries and prompted lockdowns and new restrictions across Australia.

Like national lockdowns in March last year, these are designed to provide some breathing room for authorities scrambling to contain the spread.

This is how far the variant has spread, and how Australian authorities are tackling the issue.

Where has the UK coronavirus variant spread so far?

So far, 45 countries have detected the UK coronavirus variant, according to cov-lineages.org, which, among other things, tracks the global spread of the new COVID-19 strains.

Thirteen countries have recorded community transmission of the COVID-19 variant, which studies suggest could be up to 70 per cent more transmissible than earlier strains.

Cases have been recorded in European countries including Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, Portugal and the Netherlands.

Outside of Europe, local transmission has been recorded in the United States, Canada, Israel and in the Philippines.

The first case detected in the United States was on December 29, in a man who had no travel history.

According to the US Centres for Disease Control, there are 63 recorded cases across the country.

The states with the most cases of the variant include California with 33 recorded cases, Florida with 22, and Colorado, where the strain was first detected, has three recorded cases.

This is not the total cases of the variant circulating in the US, just those found in the analysis of positive samples. It comes as the US recently reached a record 300,000 new COVID-19 cases recorded in a day.

‘We have to assume that this strain will become the dominant strain’

The new strain’s increased infectiousness is thought to be driving up case numbers up in the United Kingdom.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, “this strain is likely to become [the] more dominant strain of the virus globally”.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has said the same, although she thought the strain shouldn’t be thought of as a “UK strain”.

“We have to assume that this strain will become the dominant strain and it is important to keep re-assessing our settings, keep staying vigilant and for the immediate future keep wearing our masks in those indoor settings,” she said.

“I also want to stress we shouldn’t be attributing these variants to one country because the so-called UK strain now exists in 30 countries.”



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