Buenos Aires: The Argentine health ministry said on Monday that three travelers had tested positive for highly contagious coronavirus strains, including two infected with Indian subtypes and one with the South African strain.
“Since we started genomic sequencing surveillance of travelers, we have identified so-called priority variants in almost 50% of positive cases, but this is the first time that we have found variants B.1.617.2 and B.1.617.1 (originally isolated in India) and B.1.351 (originally isolated in South Africa),” chief epidemiologist Analia Rearte said.
All three travelers — two minors returning from Paris and a 58-year-old passenger returning from Spain — entered the country on April 24 and were quarantined at a Buenos Aires hotel.
The “double-mutant” B.1.617 strain was first found in India in October, while its B.1.617.2 subtype was detected earlier this year and has already become the dominant strain that is driving India’s unprecedented coronavirus surge. South Africa’s B.1.351 was likewise detected in October.