A new strain of coronavirus, different to the new variant found recently in the UK, has been discovered among 35 newly infected patients at a hospital in southern Germany.
It is not yet known how contagious, nor how deadly, the new variant is, the managing director of the Garmisch-Partenkirchen clinic confirmed. "The mere fact that it's a new variant doesn't mean it's more infectious" a doctor of the hospital said.
And deputy medical director, Clemens Stockklausner, said there was no need to panic just yet. "We have to wait for the complete sequencing. We cannot say at all at the moment whether this (mutation) has any clinical relevance," he told reporters.
Samples have been sent to Berlin's Charite Hospital for further examination.
Perhaps even more significantly, the new variants do not reduce the impact of the vaccines currently on offer, according to medical experts. The rate of new infections has decreased in recent days in Germany and the occupancy of intensive care units by coronavirus patients has gone down by 10-15%, according to Health Minister Jens Spahn.
Germany's top health official also said intensified testing of cross-border commuters should be introduced to help prevent new variants entering the country.