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Countries around the world are continuing to fight against the rapid spread of new COVID-19 variants.
Portugal and China have imposed new virus-prevention measures to contain the local transmission of the new strains that are more infectious than the original.
Kim Hyo-sun reports.
Portugal is grappling with the rapid spread of the new COVID-19 variant out of Britain,... with increased prevalence from eight to 20 percent.
The country's Prime Minister warned this could even reach 60 percent in the coming weeks.
To this end, the government has decided to close schools temporarily.
"In the face of this new strain and its speed of transmission, precaution advises us to interrupt all school activities for the coming two weeks, a suspension that will be later on compensated on the school calendar."
Portugal has the world's highest seven-day average rate of new cases per 100-thousand people,... with its total tally exceeding 590-thousand.
Germany, which saw over 1-thousand daily COVID-19 fatalities for the second straight day on Thursday,... is also battling a rapid surge of the new variant.
Its health authorities say 28 cases of the UK variant have been reported so far in the country.
On top of this, local media outlets say at least 15 additional cases of the variant have been reported among medical professionals and patients in Berlin.
China is also intensifying virus-prevention measures amid a surge in new cases.
One-point-six million residents have been banned from leaving Beijing as cases linked to a new UK variant were found in the capital.
Authorities are on high alert as they believe these cases could be local transmissions.
Latest research also suggests the South African variant can reduce the efficacy of the current line of vaccines.
South Africa's National Institute for Communicable Diseases has found that the South African variant can evade the antibodies that attack it in treatments utilizing blood plasma from previously-recovered patients.
Kim Hyo-sun, Arirang News.
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2021-01-22, 07:00 (KST)