Slovak virologists found the South Africa coronavirus variant in seven samples from Friday, March 5.
Virologist Boris Klempa from the Slovak Academy of Sciences sequenced the samples for the presence of the new mutation, also known as 501.V2 or B.1.351, in his lab. He confirmed the new strain was found in six samples for the Dennik N daily on Sunday.
The Health Ministry later confirmed the new strain was found in seven samples. Three infections were confirmed in Bratislava, in two men who arrived from Ukraine and in on woman who contracted the virus in Slovakia.
In the nothern district of Stará Ľubovňa, a man who returned from Germany tested positive for the South Africa strain. In the Dolný Kubín district, one man and one woman who have not travelled anywhere were confirmed as positive with the new strain. A woman from Banská Bystrica district who returned from a trip to Zanzibar was also diagnosed with the South Africa mutation.
Slovak government has imposed new measures in March, with an aim to prevent the import of new mutations.
Until now, the British variant was the only one of the new, more aggressive mutations to be confirmed in Slovakia. Its presence was first confirmed in early January.
There have been concerns that the South Africa variant may be more aggressive in spreading. Virologists also worry that the vaccines may not work so well against it.
Read more about the coronavirus in Slovakia:
- Measures valid in Slovakia as of March
- Statistics of the positive coronavirus cases
- Tightened border regime: State orders self-isolation and testing for all incomers as of February 17
- Do I have the new coronavirus? How to proceed if you have a suspicion
- I encountered a person who is COVID-19 positive. What do I do next? (FAQ)
- When will I get my COVID vaccine? FAQs about vaccination in Slovakia