Josep Maria Argimon, secretary of Public Health of Catalonia, confirmed on Wednesday that a patient has been diagnosed in Barcelona with the South African variant of Covid-19.
This is the second confirmed case in Spain, following another case detected in the region of Galicia last week.
Argimon said that the patient in Barcelona diagnosed with the variant had not travelled to South Africa nor has any connection to the country.
With regard the British strain of Covid-19, it has also already been detected throughout Spain, in different regions. The two variants, along with that of Brazil, are more contagious than the initial strain of the virus.
Catalonia has been the second region worst affected by Covid-19, after Madrid. According to figures released on Tuesday, there have been 505,572 confirmed cases there since the start of the pandemic, but the incidence rate is currently 519 per 100,000 inhabitants over the past 14 days – below the 846 figure across Spain overall.
9,442 people have died from Covid-19 in Catalonia and there are currently 5,062 people requiring hospital treatment for the virus, of which 804 are in intensive care. This represents a 50.92% occupancy of ICUs by Covid patients in the region.
Catalonia is currently under strict restrictions aimed at suppressing the spread of the virus, which are set to finish on 7 February, but are likely to be extended further. Argimon said that the restrictions would largely remain in place, but there would be some ‘small openings’.
‘I think they will be measures with small openings because there must be, because we all know the situation in which we are in together,’ said Argimon. However, he did not want to give either a ‘glimmer of hope or close a door’ whilst the scenario was still being analysed and measures still being decided.
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