Argentina confirms first cases of COVID-19 variants from India, South Africa

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BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA - APRIL 07: A motorcyclist is Covid-19 tested by a health worker at the Costa Salguero convention center on April 7, 2021 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. President Alberto Fernandez works on a decree to set new restrictions and controls to tackle spread of COVID-19 after over 20,000 positive cases were registered yesterday. (Photo by Ricardo Ceppi/Getty Images)
BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA: A motorcyclist is COVID-19 tested by a health worker at the Costa Salguero convention center on April 7, 2021 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Photo by Ricardo Ceppi/Getty Images)

Argentina’s Health Ministry on Monday confirmed its first cases of the more contagious COVID-19 variants discovered in India and South Africa in three travelers returning to the South American country from Europe.

The Indian variant of the coronavirus was detected in two minors who returned from Paris, while the South African variant was found in a 58-year-old passenger returning from Spain, the ministry said in a statement.

The three passengers arrived at Buenos Aires International Airport on April 24 and were quarantined in a hotel.

“Since we began surveillance of genomic sequencing in travelers, we have identified ‘priority’ variants in almost 50% of positive cases,” Analia Rearte, the ministry’s head of epidemiology and strategic information, said in the statement.

Argentina, which is slowly carrying out a vaccination campaign, established new restrictions on the circulation of people in the country and certain activities in recent weeks due to the second wave of coronavirus infections.

The country has registered a total of 3,147,740 cases since the pandemic began and 67,325 deaths.

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