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Ukraine confirms two cases of British coronavirus variant

FILE PHOTO: A medical worker attends to patients inside the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) ward of a hospital in Yaremche in Ivano-Frankivsk Region, Ukraine March 3, 2021. REUTERS/Anastasia Vlasova

KYIV (Reuters) - Ukraine has confirmed two cases of the British coronavirus variant, detected in the west of the country, the Ukrainian Institute of Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases said on Thursday.

An institute official told Reuters two cases, a man and a woman, were registered in the Ivano-Frankivsk region.

The official said tests were taken on Feb. 18-19, while Ukrainian health authorities earlier this week said there was no such variant in the country.

Ukraine has faced a sharp jump in coronavirus cases in recent weeks, which Prime Minister Denys Shmygal called a “third wave” of the pandemic.

He said three regions had already imposed serious restrictions which may be introduced elsewhere in coming days.

Shmygal said the country could return to national lockdown if things get worse.

A record number of Ukrainians were taken to hospital with coronavirus on Tuesday with a consistently high number of deaths, health ministry data showed.

Ukraine has reported 1,374,762 coronavirus cases and 26,591 deaths so far.

Reporting by Natalia Zinets; Writing by Matthias Williams and Pavel Polityuk; Editing by Alex Richardson and Nick Macfie

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