STOCKHOLM, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- The mutated coronavirus first identified in Brazil has now been found in Sweden, local media reported on Saturday.
Four individuals in the Gavleborg region north of Stockholm have been confirmed infected, Swedish Television (SVT) reported. None of them have had to seek hospital treatment, but the authorities are worried nevertheless.
"They have not traveled abroad, but within the country. We do not know exactly how they became infected, but we continue with intensified contact tracing," regional infection control physician Shah Jalal told SVT News.
"It is very worrying," he said, adding that the strain first identified in Britain is also spreading in Gavleborg.
Earlier this week, the first cases connected to the coronavirus variant first identified in South Africa were confirmed in Sweden.
All of the new strains are believed to be more contagious than the original virus. In mid-January, fewer than 100 cases of the mutation first detected in Britain had been discovered in Sweden. Now, it has been found in 20 of the country's 21 regions and is believed to account for around 20 percent of all new infections.
"This is not surprising at all," Matti Sallberg, vaccine expert and professor at medical university Karolinska Institutet, told SVT News about the fact that the new strains have been found in Sweden.
"All varieties found around the world will appear everywhere. We have not closed the globe."
As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, vaccination is underway in many countries with the already-authorized coronavirus vaccines.
Meanwhile, 251 candidate vaccines are still being developed worldwide -- 70 of them in clinical trials -- in countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain and the United States, according to information released by the World Health Organization on Friday. Enditem