Nicosia, Cyprus: Cyprus reported its first cases of the Covid-19 variety driving India’s explosive outbreak on Wednesday, with four patients confined upon arrival, according to the health ministry.
The Indian version was found in four samples, whereas the South African variation was found in two others.
The B.1.617 variety of Covid-19, first discovered in India in October, has now been found in 44 countries, according to the World Health Organization.
“These people were quarantined in hotels based on protocols and taken to a center when their PCR (test) results came back positive,” the health ministry on the Mediterranean island said.
“They did not come into contact with other people,” it added.
The cases were found in passengers traveling from India, Nepal, Pakistan, and the Philippines, all of which are subject to Cypriot restrictions that require a 14-day quarantine upon arrival.
Variants are considered more harmful because they may be more transmissible, lethal, or resistant to vaccination protection.
“The only way to curb the aggressive transmission they cause is high vaccination coverage of the population,” the ministry added.
Cyprus is accelerating its immunization program, with 45 percent of adults have received at least one immunization, with the goal of reaching 65 percent by July.
Daily recorded cases hit an all-time high of 941 in April, fueled by the more contagious British strain, but have now declined dramatically following two weeks of tighter restrictions.
Since the pandemic began, over 71,000 cases of Covid-19 have been reported in government-controlled southern Cyprus, with 348 deaths.