Health authorities in Taiwan have reported the first case of a new coronavirus variant discovered in the UK

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Health authorities in Taiwan have reported the first case of a new coronavirus variant discovered in the UK. It also warned it is suspending the arrival of all foreigners without residence permits starting on Friday.

“A teenage passenger, who arrived from London at Taoyuan International Airport on Sunday, has tested positive for the new mutant strain of the virus,” the Health Minister and Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) head Chen Shih-chung said on Wednesday.

The passenger had submitted negative results of tests taken within three days of the flight, but he had a fever when he arrived at the airport on Sunday, and the next day, tested positive for Covid-19. The sample of the genome taken from the passenger matched with the new strain of the virus, B.1.1.7, Chen confirmed.

The person is in hospital “in a stable condition,” according to the official.

After two other passengers tested positive for coronavirus on Monday, Taiwan’s two major airlines said they would suspend all flights to the UK on January 1, 2021.

Chen announced that the government is suspending arrivals of all foreigners without residence permits from Friday.

Taiwan adopted early prevention measures and the strict quarantine of all arrivals when the pandemic began, and imported cases account for almost all of its 798 coronavirus cases, and seven deaths.

The government also confirmed on Wednesday it will buy almost 20 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine, including 10 million from AstraZeneca.

The CECC will also buy 4.76 million doses from global vaccine program COVAX. Chen “really hopes” the island will have its “vaccine passport” system to ease international travel for those who have had the shot. “This is something we are proactively considering,” the official stressed.

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