More aggressive COVID strain probably dominant in Slovakia. It is not necessarily bad news

Virologists report they have found that the B.1.1.7 strain, first detected in the UK, is dominant in the samples from Trenčín.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: AP/TASR)

The more aggressive strain of the coronavirus first discovered in the UK that has provoked concerns across Europe has been spreading in Slovakia for weeks. It's not necessarily bad news, though.

The B.1.1.7 strain of the coronavirus spreads faster and also infects children and younger people easier than the virus that was spreading in Europe since the spring. PM Igor Matovič used the spread of the new strain as an argument for the mass testing that is currently ongoing in Slovakia.

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Related article New coronavirus strain confirmed in Bratislava Read more 

"We're fighting for time. We need to lower the number of [infected] people before this version becomes dominant. If we only relied on the lockdown, the power of the virus may be significantly greater," he said.

The analysis of samples from the mass testing in the Trenčín district on December 19 and 20 has now shown that the so-called British mutation was found in 57 percent of cases detected there. The analysis was published by the Public Health Office on January 20.

Epidemiologists and data analysts say the news that the feared strain has been spreading in Slovakia earlier than previously thought is good news.

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