Peru confirms case of British variant of coronavirus

LIMA, Jan 8 (Reuters) - Peru has confirmed the first case of a highly transmissable variant of the coronavirus first found in Britain, the Ministry of Health said on Friday, as cases tick upwards and hospitals in some parts of the country warn of saturation.

The ministry said the person affected by the variant of the virus was a Peruvian citizen who lived and worked in the capital Lima and had not travelled abroad.

The authorities said the woman had attended family gatherings before Christmas and they would be tracing those she had contact with.

Peru has confirmed 1,026,090 coronavirus cases, with more than 38,000 deaths, according to data from the Ministry of Health published on Thursday. Peru is reporting 1,650 new infections on average each day, 19% of the cases reported during its mid-August peak, according to Reuters data.

Health Minister Pilar Mazzetti said the current increase in infections was “slow, but progressive”.

“We have seen in the last 10 days an increase in cases and mortality,” she added.

On Wednesday, Peruvian President Francisco Sagasti said the government had negotiated an agreement with China’s Sinopharm to ensure the delivery of one million doses of its coronavirus vaccine by January. nL1N2JH1XH (Reporting by Maria Cervantes, writing by Aislinn Laing Editing by Gareth Jones)