New coronavirus variant identified in German hospital

Thirty-five people tested positive for an unknown mutant of the virus.

New coronavirus variant identified in German hospital

A new variant of the coronavirus has been identified in a hospital in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, a Bavarian ski town, local media reported Monday.

Last Tuesday, the hospital discovered an “abnormality” for the first time in a coronavirus test device that indicated it was not one of the variants from the U.K., South Africa, or Brazil, said Clemens Stockklausner, deputy medical director at the hospital, during a press conference.

Samples of the virus have been sent to the Charité hospital in Berlin, he said, adding that it’s too early to say whether this variant is more contagious or aggressive than the original coronavirus.

According to Stockklausner, there are currently 73 infected individuals in the hospital, including members of staff. Thirty-five of those 73 are infected with the unknown variant of the virus. Pandemic precautions at the facility have been tightened.

The news came as the German government — worried by recent case data from the U.K. and Ireland — is preparing another meeting between Chancellor Angela Merkel and the 16 state leaders to discuss a tightening of measures and an extension of the lockdown, currently scheduled to end on January 31.

Bavarian Premier Markus Söder, a potential successor to Merkel, was among those calling on Monday for an extension of the current lockdown until at least mid-February.

“After all, so far the current lockdown has been slowing down the more dangerous virus variant,” Söder told local media.

Source : Politico EU More