BERLIN (Reuters) – The new coronavirus variant discovered in Britain seems to have been present in Germany since November as doctors detected it retrospectively in samples of an older patient who later died, Die Welt daily reported on Monday.
Specialists at the Hannover Medical School (MHH) were able to determine the virus variant B1.1.7 in samples of the patient who had medical preconditions, the newspaper said, citing the regional ministry of health in the state of Lower Saxony.
The Berlin Charite hospital confirmed the initial findings, the report added.
The new coronavirus variant, which has been spreading rapidly in Britain, is thought to be more infectious than other currently circulating variants. Early analysis suggests symptoms from the variant are not more severe.
The German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg said last week that local authorities had detected the new variant also in an infected person who flew to Frankfurt from Britain on Dec. 20.
The traveller wanted to visit relatives and tested positive upon arrival. The person was picked up from the airport by car by family members and has been isolated at their residence since then.
(Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Richard Chang)