Patient in Italy detected with strain of COVID-19 found in UK

A patient in Italy was detected to have been infected with the more contagious strain of COVID-19 recently discovered in the U.K., Italy’s health ministry announced on Sunday.

The health ministry said that the patient and his partner came back to Italy from the U.K. in the last few days on a flight that landed at Rome’s Fiumicino airport. The couple is currently in isolation, Reuters reported

The patient’s contraction of the new strain comes as at least six countries temporarily suspended travel to the U.K. besides for official exceptions after U.K. officials reported the new strain that appears to be more contagious.

ADVERTISEMENT

Austria, Belgium, Germany, Israel, Italy and the Netherlands instituted suspensions on flights to the U.K. on Sunday amid the country’s rise in cases and the discovery of the more transmissible strain. 

Italy banned entry from anyone who was in the U.K. over the past 14 days, The Associated Press reported Sunday.

But former Surgeon General Vivek MurthyVivek MurthyHarris announces .5B to fight shortage of doctors in underserved communities The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Arbery case, Biden spending bill each test views of justice The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - House Democrats eye big vote on Biden measure MORE, who has been nominated to retake the position under President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenSouth Africa health minister calls travel bans over new COVID variant 'unjustified' Biden attends tree lighting ceremony after day out in Nantucket Senior US diplomat visiting Southeast Asia to 'reaffirm' relations MORE, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the U.K.’s newly discovered strain does not appear to deadlier. 

“While it seems to be more transmissible, we do not have evidence yet that this is a more deadly virus to an individual who acquires it,” he said, adding that there is no evidence the coronavirus vaccines would be less effective against this strain.

Italy was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year and has recorded nearly 2 million cases and 68,799 fatalities, the fifth most deaths in any country, since it started, according to data from Johns Hopkins University

The U.K. has documented slightly more than 2 million cases and 67,503 deaths, the sixth most cases and deaths of any country.