Indian Covid-19 variant found in Switzerland: Health authority

GENEVA (AFP) – A first case of the Covid-19 variant contributing to the exploding outbreak in India has been detected in Switzerland, the public health authority said Saturday (April 24).

“The first case of the Indian variant of Covid-19 has been discovered in Switzerland,” Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health said in a tweet.

The virus variant was found in “a passenger who was transiting through an airport,” it said, without providing more details about the case.

The news comes after Belgian authorities on Thursday said a group of 20 Indian nursing students who arrived from Paris had tested positive for the variant in the country.

India’s healthcare system is meanwhile buckling under a new wave of infections blamed in part on the new “double mutant” variant, known as B1617.

Countries have been on high alert for the variant, with several suspending flights from India.

The Swiss are meanwhile discussing whether adding India to its “red list” of high risk countries, the health authority said Saturday.

People arriving from countries placed on Switzerland’s red list are required to quarantine for 10 days.

It puts countries and regions on the list once Covid-19 infection rates remain significantly higher than Switzerland’s for a period of 14 days.

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