SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazil has confirmed cases of the UK variant of the novel coronavirus in two states and in the federal district of Brasília, according to a statement from the health ministry on Sunday.
The government said it has not yet confirmed cases of the South African variant.
Two of the confirmed cases of the UK variant were reported in the state of Goiás after sequencing test samples taken on Dec. 31, according to the state’s health department on Friday.
In that statement, Goiás authorities said the two people who have caught the UK variant live on the outskirts of the federal capital Brasília.
The World Health Organization has said the UK variant has now been found in more than 70 countries.
Brazil has the world’s highest number of coronavirus deaths after the United States and more than 9.8 million confirmed cases. A Brazilian variant of the virus is circulating in 10 states, the health ministry said.
The two people in Goiás who caught the UK variant had contact with a relative who lives in England, traveled to Brazil for the holidays and had been diagnosed with COVID-19, the Goiás health department said.
A genomic sequencing of the virus confirmed infection by the UK variant in Goiás.
Reporting by Ana Mano and Ricardo Brito; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Diane Craft