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HEALTH

Indian coronavirus variant detected in northern Italy

Authorities in Veneto, northern Italy, announced on Monday they had identified two cases of the Indian variant of coronavirus.

Indian coronavirus variant detected in northern Italy
Photo: Piero Cruciatti/AFP

The news follows reports of another case in the central region of Tuscany last month, and comes after the Italian government banned arrivals from India, which is struggling with a catastrophic, record-breaking outbreak that has overwhelmed hospitals.

“Today in (the city of) Bassano we have the first two patients, two Indian citizens,” announced Luca Zaia, head of the Veneto region.

“There are now thousands of variants, and sooner or later they’ll all arrive,” he said. “We have to face up to this, and move forward.”

READ ALSO: Italy bans arrivals from virus-hit India

Bassano, in the province of Vicenza, lies some 65 kilometres (40 miles) north-east of Venice.

The two patients were identified as a father and adult daughter of Indian origin who recently returned from a trip to India. They are currently isolating at home.

Health Minister Roberto Speranza on Sunday announced a new ban on anyone entering Italy who has been in India in the past 14 days.

Anyone already in Italy who had been in India in the past 14 days should contact health authorities, he added.

With a new coronavirus variant spreading through its 1.3 billion people, India has become the world’s biggest coronavirus hotspot in recent days, reporting 349,691 new cases on Sunday alone.

In the past week, more than two million cases have been detected, a 58-percent increase on the previous seven days, according to figures compiled by AFP.

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HEALTH

Italy reports first case of monkeypox

Italy on Thursday reported its first case of monkeypox, joining a number of other European and North American nations in detecting the disease endemic in parts of Africa.

Italy reports first case of monkeypox

Monkeypox was identified in a young adult who had recently returned from the Canary Islands, Rome’s Spallanzani Institute for infectious diseases said.

He is being treated in isolation and is in a reasonable condition, it said in a statement carried by Italian news agencies, adding that two other suspected cases were being investigated.

Alessio D’Amato, health commissioner for the Lazio region that includes Rome, confirmed on social media that it was the country’s first case, adding that the situation was being “constantly monitored”.

Cases of monkeypox have also been detected in Spain and Portugal – where more than 40 possible and verified cases have been reported – as well as Britain, Sweden, the United States and Canada.

The illness has infected thousands of people in parts of Central and Western Africa in recent years, but is rare in Europe and North Africa.

Its symptoms are similar but somewhat milder than smallpox’s: fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, chills, exhaustion, although it also causes the lymph nodes to swell up.

Within one to three days, the patient develops a rash, often beginning on the face then spreading to other parts of the body. Although most monkeypox cases aren’t serious, studies have shown that one in ten people who contract the disease in Africa die from it.

The World Health Organization on Tuesday said it was coordinating with UK and European health officials over the new outbreaks.

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