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Germany reports first case of coronavirus variant spreading in Britain

A sign reminding to wear a face mask is seen on the door as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak continues in Mainz, Germany December 22, 2020. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - A new variant of the pandemic SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that has been spreading rapidly in Britain has been found in Germany for the first time, the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg said on Thursday.

The infected person flew to Frankfurt from London Heathrow on Dec. 20 to visit relatives and tested positive upon arrival. Further genetic analysis of the sample at a lab in Berlin has yielded a case of B.1.1.7, as the variant is known, the southwestern German state’s health ministry said in a statement.

“This is the first known case in Germany,” it added.

The person, who has since developed mild symptoms, was picked up from the airport by car by family members and has isolated at the family’s residence in Baden-Wuerttemberg since then, the ministry added.

Three individuals who have been in close contact with the person have also quarantined, it said.

The fast spread of the new variant in Britain has prompted some European countries to cut transport links.

Singapore on Thursday also confirmed its first case of the new coronavirus variant.

(This story refiles to fix typo in headline)

Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Maria Sheahan

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