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Serbia reports first case of new coronavirus variant

FILE PHOTO: People wait in line to get tested for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the Institute of Virology, Vaccines and Sera "Torlak" in Belgrade, Serbia, August 12, 2020. REUTERS/Marko Djurica

BELGRADE (Reuters) - The first case of a new variant of the coronavirus has been detected in Serbia in a woman who arrived from London, but no new lockdown is planned, President Aleksandar Vucic was quoted on Sunday as saying.

Several new variants of the virus have been discovered around the world, including a highly contagious, and potentially more deadly, variant first identified in southeast England and now widespread in Britain.

Vucic said all those who had been in contact with the infected woman had been put under isolation, state news agency Tanjug reported.

“The new variant was detected on time and there will be no lockdown,” it quoted Vucic as saying. “It is important to continue with vaccination.”

So far some 172,000 people have been vaccinated in Serbia with three vaccines registered in the country -- vaccine by Pfizer and BioNTech, Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine and China’s Sinopharm .

In the Western Balkan region, inoculation has started only in Serbia and Albania, while Bosnia, Kosovo, Montenegro and North Macedonia have not yet received supplies of any vaccine.

Serbia on Sunday reported 1,318 new COVID cases and 18 deaths in the past 24 hours.

The Balkan country of 7 million has reported 383,603 coronavirus infections and 3,886 deaths since March.

Reporting by Ivana Sekularac; editing by Philippa Fletcher

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