First case of mutant Covid strain found in China in woman returning from UK

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China has reported its first case of the mutated Covid strain thought to have originated in the UK, after a woman returning from Britain tested positive.

The 23-year-old passenger reportedly flew into Shanghai from the UK on December 14.

Authorities in China have claimed the case "poses a great potential threat" to the country's efforts to prevent and control the spread of coronavirus.

The new strain, which experts say can potentially spread far quicker than the original variant, has prompted more than 50 countries to issue travel restrictions on the UK.

China, where coronavirus is believed to have started in a wet market in Wuhan, was among the countries which have now suspended flights from Britain.

So far, 10 countries have detected cases of the mutated strain have been found around the world, including the UK, the US and China.

It comes as China's leading coronavirus expert, Dr Zhang Wenhong, claimed it is "nearly impossible" for the country to have another Covid-19 outbreak due to its strong testing abilities.

Despite that assurance, cases have been rising again in the Chinese capital Beijing.

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According to Chinese authorities, the mutated strain patient was hospitalised on arrival in Shanghai after showing mild symptoms.

She tested negative for the virus on December 12, two days before leaving the UK, according to a report published on the Chinese research publication website CDC Weekly.

The woman said she had gone for a run in a park without wearing a mask and had taken off her mask to eat and drink while waiting to board the plane, said officials, who suspect she may have been infected then.

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  • China
  • Coronavirus

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