BERLIN —The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control says “timely efforts” to prevent and control the spread of cases of COVID-19 involving the new coronavirus variant observed in Britain are needed, but infections have already been reported in at least three other countries in Europe.
The Stockholm-based agency said in a “threat assessment” Monday that while preliminary analysis in the UK suggests the new variant is “significantly more transmissible” there is no indication that infections are more severe.
ECDC said a few cases with the new variant have been reported already by Iceland, Denmark and the Netherlands. It also cited media reports of cases in Belgium and Italy.
The EU agency urged health authorities and labs to monitor for the new variant’s spread and alert other EU countries about new cases. It said studies are ongoing to assess what impact the new variant has on the risk of reinfections or the efficacy of vaccines.