VALLETTA, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- Malta has detected three cases of a more contagious variant of coronavirus that was first discovered in Britain, Minister for Health Chris Fearne announced in a tweet on Wednesday.
Fearne said the cases were immediately isolated and their contacts quarantined.
The variant, first reported by the UK earlier this month, is said to be up to 70 percent more transmissible.
Details of the cases were later given by Superintendent of Public Health, Charmaine Gauci, during her weekly pandemic briefing.
Gauci said that the variant had been found when a 37-year-old woman and a 47-year-old man landed in Malta from the UK on Dec. 19. They tested positive at the airport and immediately placed in isolation. Their nationality was not disclosed.
The third case, involving a 75-year-old Maltese woman, is still being investigated to determine where she could have contracted the coronavirus variant.
Malta suspended flights to and from the UK on Dec. 22, except for Maltese citizens and residents returning to the island from Britain.
Currently, Malta has 1,392 active coronavirus cases, according to the Health Ministry. As of Wednesday, the pandemic has claimed 216 lives in the country. Enditem