Argentine health authorities Monday reported having detected the presence of the South African and Indian strains of the coronavirus in travelers who have arrived into the country over the past few days.
This is the first time that we have found the variants originally isolated in India and South Africa, said Epidemiology and Strategic Information Director Analía Rearte said.
The National Health Ministry's ANLIS-Malbrán Institute Monday confirmed the diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 with the sequencing of priority variants in three travelers, in two cases they are B.1.617.2 and B. 1.617.1, originally isolated in India, and in a third of variant B.1.351, isolated in South Africa.
Since we started the genomic sequencing surveillance in travelers, we have identified so-called priority variants in almost 50% of the positive cases, but this is the first time that we have found the variants originally isolated in India and South Africa, said Rearte.
She explained that within the protocol of procedures for entering [through] Ezeiza [airport] from abroad, all people are tested for antigens; those who are positive are sent to a hotel in the City of Buenos Aires to comply with the mandated isolation, and also the samples to be sequenced are sent to the Malbrán laboratory .
From this sequencing, it turned out that, in the first two cases - in two minors from Paris and residents of the City of Buenos Aires - the variant identified in India was found; while in the third - a 58-year-old man arriving from Spain and a resident of the Río Negro province - the variant originally isolated in South Africa was found.
The three travelers entered the country on April 24 and were referred for the isolation corresponding to a hotel in the City of Buenos Aires.
It was also reported that on April 26 the jurisdictions were notified to carry out follow-up actions on the close contacts.
As reported by the jurisdictions to the national health authority, the children completed the isolation together with their parents, although both of them tested negative, and the adult underwent isolation for 10 days with mild symptoms.
And Rio Negro's provincial health ministry confirmed the 58-year-old man was a Cipolletti resident who had traveled to Cuba, before leaving Cuba back to our country underwent a PCR test which came out negative.” Rio Negro's Secretary of Public Health Policies Mercedes Iberó also explained that the patient then made a stopover in Spain and when “he arrived in Ezeiza they performed the corresponding swab-in and gave him a positive result, hence his isolation at a hotel in Buenos Aires, until the day of discharge, after which he returned to his home in Cipoletti and “is in perfect health.”