Thai Covid variant: How many cases are there and is it more dangerous than the Indian variant?

The new variant was detected in people who had travelled to Thailand from Egypt

<p>An NHS track and trace QR code is seen on a wall inside Cafe Italia as indoor hospitality returns, however, fears of new variants are mounting</p>

An NHS track and trace QR code is seen on a wall inside Cafe Italia as indoor hospitality returns, however, fears of new variants are mounting

A new mutant strain of the coronavirus that first emerged in Thailand has reportedly led to over a hundred cases in the UK where health authorities are already grappling with infections from the Indian variant.

British health officials confirmed on Thursday that 109 cases of the new variant have been found in the UK, but it was unclear whether the strain was more infectious or dangerous than the existing ones.

The variant, coded C.36.3, has been categorised as a “variant under investigation” on 24 May on the basis of the mutation profile and increased importation from a widening international area.

The Public Health England (PHE) is carrying out laboratory testing to better understand the impact of the mutations on the behaviour of the virus and determine whether it reaches the threshold of being a “variant of concern.”

In a statement published on its website, PHE said: “There is currently no evidence that this variant causes more severe disease or renders the vaccines currently deployed any less effective.”

The new variant was detected in people who had travelled to Thailand from Egypt. However, the Thai government has raised objections over labelling it a “Thai variant” as they say it originated in Egypt.

“If the origin is from Egypt then it should not be called a Thai variant,” said Dr Supakit Sirilak, chief of the Department of Medical Sciences (DMS) on Friday.

“This is similar to Japan when they found the Brazilian variant. They reported it as the Brazilian strain. Therefore this should be called the Egyptian variant.”

Worries over the new variant come amid a sharp rise in cases of the Indian B.1.617.2 variant. UK’s health secretary Matt Hancock said the cases of the Indian variant of Covid-19 have doubled in a week to reach almost 7,000.

He also said that up to three-quarters of new coronavirus cases were found to be of the Indian variant, though he stressed that vaccines were helping keep people out of the hospital.

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