Portugal identifies first case of South African coronavirus variant

The spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Lisbon

LISBON (Reuters) – The first case of the South African coronavirus variant was identified in Portugal on Friday, health institute Ricardo Jorge told Lusa news agency, as the country struggles to contain a crippling surge in cases partially blamed on the rapid spread of the British variant.

“We are undergoing due process to rapidly test and interrupt this potential chain of transmission,” the Ricardo Jorge Institute told Lusa. It did not say where in Portugal the strain was detected.

The country of 10 million people registered a record 234 coronavirus deaths and 13,987 cases on Friday, and is currently reporting the highest seven-day rolling average of new cases and deaths per million worldwide according to ourworldindata.org.

(This story corrects 3rd paragraph to say 13,987 cases, not deaths)

(Reporting by Victoria Waldersee,; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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