BUCHAREST, March 5 (Xinhua) -- Romania has confirmed its first two cases of the coronavirus variant first found in South Africa, the public health authorities announced on Friday.
The variant was detected in a woman from Bucharest and a man of Turkish citizenship "infected in Arges County," according to the National Center for Surveillance and Control of Communicable Diseases.
The woman was one of three cases in a family outbreak, but only she has been confirmed with the more contagious B.1.351 variant so far.
The Turkish citizen, asymptomatic, got tested upon request as he wanted to travel to Turkey. He had neither travel history nor contact with a confirmed case, said the health authorities.
Variant B.1.351 was first identified in mid-December in South Africa and has so far been detected in over 50 countries.
According to the World Health Organization, the strain is characterized by increased contagion capacity, as is the one first discovered in the UK. But there are no data indicating that it would cause more serious cases than other mutations.
As of Friday, Romania has 820,931 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 20,785 deaths.
The authorities hope to alleviate the pandemic by stepping up its vaccination campaign that started on Dec. 27, 2020.
As many as 1,065,226 people have been given at least the first shot of a coronavirus vaccine in the eastern European country, including 627,160 who have received both doses, according to the latest data released late Thursday.
Currently, three vaccines have been approved for use in Romania -- those produced by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca.
Globally, 258 candidate vaccines are still being developed worldwide -- 76 of them in clinical trials -- in countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain, and the United States, according to the latest information released by the World Health Organization. Enditem