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The SARS-CoV-2 variant, lineage B.1.1.7 is already spreading in half of the country's counties and there is a high probability of covering the entire territory of Romania in the near future, the National Institute of Public Health indicated on Tuesday, in the epidemiological analysis of the first 136 cases of COVID-19 in Romania confirmed with new variants of the virus.

"Combined efforts are needed to perform sequencing and communicate the results to DSP [the Public Health Directorates] and CNSCBT [the National Centre for Communicable Disease Monitoring and Control] as soon as possible after the completion of laboratory investigations, in order to quickly conduct epidemiological investigations and establish the necessary measures in cases and contacts, given the increased transmissibility of this variant, and, according to the latest evidence from the United Kingdom, the higher severity of the disease it generates in the elderly," highlighted the INSP.

So far, this year, 499 sequencing completed in the weeks 53/2020 - 07/2021, respectively until February 21, 2021 included, were communicated to the CNSCBT, of which 136 were confirmed with VOC 202012/01 (lineage B.1.1.7).

This corresponds to a confirmation rate of 27.3%.

As of that date, no other SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern have been detected, the INSP said.

According to the analysis, most confirmed cases were registered in the 45-54 age group. The vast majority of cases (95.6%) are in people older than 25 years.AGERPRES(RO - author: Andreea Rotaru, editor: Claudia Stanescu; EN - author: Simona Iacob, editor: Maria Voican)

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