Two cases of the Nigerian strain of coronavirus have been identified in Wales.
Public Health Wales confirmed on Friday that the B.1.525 variant, which is classified as a ‘variant under investigation’, is present here.
A spokeswoman for the NHS trust said: “As at Friday, February 19 we have identified and confirmed and two cases of the B.1.525 strain of coronavirus in Wales.
“This strain has been designated as a variant under investigation (VUI 202102/03). Both cases have links with travel to Nigeria and usual contact tracing processes have been followed.
“Public Health Wales do not comment on individual cases or provide information that may potentially identify individuals.
“There is no current evidence that this variant is any more transmissible than either the original Covid-19 virus or other variants in circulation.”
It follows news on Wednesday that there are 17 cases of the South African variant of Covid-19 in Wales, most of which have links to international travel.
Three of the four most recent cases were identified in west Wales and all had links to international travel. The remaining new case was identified as part of contact tracing associated with a case which was already known about in Neath Port Talbot.
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Speaking about the South African strain, Dr Giri Shankar, incident director for Public Health Wales, said: “The identification of these cases demonstrates that well-established processes under the Test, Trace, Protect strategy are proving to be effective.
“Public Health Wales is working in close partnership with the Welsh Government, local health boards and local authorities to find out where the virus was acquired, and if any onward transmission has occurred.
“This is a small number of cases and there is no evidence at the moment that sustained community transmission has occurred.
“There is no evidence that the South African variant causes more serious illness; there is some evidence that it can spread more easily, and that vaccines – although still effective – may not work quite as well against it.”
Speaking to LBC on Friday morning, First Minister Mark Drakeford refused to rule out a fourth national lockdown.
“Our chief medical officer said to me this week that he believes a third wave of coronavirus is baked into what will happen during this year,” he said.
“We’re not talking about if there will be a third wave, we’re talking about how we can act to make sure that third wave doesn’t affect us in the way we’ve seen over this autumn and winter.
“There’s going to be a long goodbye to coronavirus and it’s going to be with us for the rest of this calendar year.”
-- to www.walesonline.co.uk