Australia said on Monday (Dec 21) that it had detected cases of the new virulent coronavirus strain identified in the United Kingdom, while Hong Kong said it would suspend Britain flights.
Two travellers from the United Kingdom to Australia's New South Wales state were found carrying the mutated variant of the virus that Britain has said could be up to 70 per cent more infectious. Both are in quarantine, and the recent spike in infections in Sydney is not linked to this, authorities said.
The new strain has prompted Britain's European neighbours and several other countries including Canada and Iran to close their doors to travellers from the country.
Much is unknown about the strain, but experts said current vaccines should still be effective against it. Asian nations including Japan and South Korea said they were monitoring the new strain even as they battle spikes in infections at home.
Hong Kong became the first city in the region to ban flights from Britain in a bid to curb already rising case numbers in the dense financial hub. (Foreign Media)