Virus strain in Beijing COVID19 cases same as variant in UK
Published: Jan 20, 2021 09:40 PM

Beijing Daxing district photo: VCG

The COVID-19 virus strain found in the first two cases in Beijing's Daxing district is the same as the variant initially found in the UK, suggesting it was imported from an overseas source, Beijing authorities said on Wednesday. 

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) determined the coronavirus strain in the two cases was the variant B.1.1.7 that has been spreading in the UK after the Beijing CDC conducted complete genome sequencing and analyses of the two samples. 

As the mutated forms of the virus spread more easily, anti-epidemic work has become more difficult, said Feng Zijian, a deputy director of Chinese CDC, at a press conference on Wednesday. 

Studies showed that the transmissibility of the mutated viruses reported in the UK, South Africa and Brazil has indeed increased, and they are gradually becoming more widespread and dominant in some areas, Feng said. 

But he also noted that the mutated viruses did not appear to cause changes in the clinical features or increase its severity. 

Beijing's detection of the new virus strain follows reports from Shanghai, Guangzhou in South China's Guangdong Province and Qingdao, East China's Shandong Province where the strain found in local confirmed cases was similar to the mutant strain in the UK.

Feng said the anti-epidemic measures that China has taken can detect and control the virus imported from overseas and prevent its early spread in an effective and timely manner. 

Daxing reported nine confirmed COVID-19 cases since the fresh outbreak started on Monday. 

The residential community where the nine cases live was designated as a high-risk region on Wednesday, currently the only one in the capital city.