By Atila Altuntas and Senhan Bolelli

MADRID/ STOCKHOLM

 Sweden and Spain on Saturday confirmed to have detected the first cases of a new strain of the deadly coronavirus.

In a statement, the Swedish Health General Directorate stated the mutated novel coronavirus strain was detected in a woman who arrived from the UK in the Sodermanland region. This is the first known case in Sweden.

The Swedish Health Directorate also reported that 39,648 COVID-19 cases have been reported in the country so far and 8,279 people died from the virus.

Meanwhile, Spain confirmed to have detected the first four cases of a new strain of the COVID-19 in a family in the capital Madrid.

According to a statement issued by the Health Ministry, one of the family members had come from London on Tuesday. Others in the family were in contact with the person, the statement said.

There were three suspicious cases related to the new strain of the deadly coronavirus, it added

Moreover, the first part of the COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech reached Spain, while the first vaccine in Spain will be administered to the elderly and employees in an elderly nursing home on Sunday.

More than 40 countries, including Turkey and those from Europe, have suspended air traffic with the UK after the new strain of the virus was discovered in the country.

The newly discovered variant is reported to be spreading 70% faster.

The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed more than 1.75 million lives in 191 countries and regions since last December.

Over 80 million cases have been

worldwide, with more than 45.2 million recoveries, according to figures compiled by the US Johns Hopkins University.

The US, India, and Brazil remain the worst-hit countries in terms of the number of cases.

While new restrictions are imposed ahead of the holiday season, especially across Europe, countries are approving and procuring vaccines to combat the pandemic.

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