'First confirmed cases in Spain of UK Covid-19 variant'

First confirmed cases in Spain of British Covid-19 variant: Regional govt

People wearing protective masks wait in line to buy lottery tickets of the Spanish Christmas Lottery "El Gordo", amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Madrid, Spain December 21, 2020. Credit: Reuters Photo

Four cases of a coronavirus variant believed to be particularly infectious that recently emerged in Britain have been confirmed in Madrid, the regional government said Saturday, the first cases detected in Spain.

All four cases involved people who recently arrived from the UK, the Madrid regional government's deputy health chief Antonio Zapatero told a news conference.

"The patients are not seriously ill, we know that this strain is more transmissible, but it does not cause more serious illness," he said.

"There is no need for alarm," Zapatero added.

There are another three suspected cases of the coronavirus variant but the results of tests will only be available on Tuesday or Wednesday, Zapatero said.

The new strain of the virus, which experts fear is more contagious, has prompted more than 50 countries including Spain to impose travel restrictions on the UK.

Madrid has since Tuesday banned all entries from the United Kingdom except for Spanish nationals and residents.