A Chinese who had just returned home to Guangzhou from the U.K. has been found to be infected with the new coronavirus strain that was first detected in Britain. The 18-year-old student returned to China on Dec. 4 and is the second Chinese to contract the B.1.1.7 variant.

Chinese media reported on Sunday that the new COVID-19 variant was detected after the provincial disease control and prevention center of Guangzhou ran gene-sequencing tests on all the throat swab samples collected from the Chinese population since September. The carrier of the new coronavirus strain tested negative for COVID-19 upon his arrival at the Chinese border, but he tested positive in a subsequent test conducted two weeks later.

The man was reportedly in quarantine when the test was conducted. As of Sunday, he was under monitoring at Guangzhou No. 8 People’s Hospital after developing mild symptoms of the disease. Health officials said they would continue checking the gene sequencing of the samples to see if more people had been infected with the new COVID-19 variant in the province.

China recorded its first infection of the new variant on Dec. 14, when a 23-year-old woman who had just returned to Shanghai after studying in Britain tested positive for COVID-19. Scientists discovered that she had been infected with the new strain 10 days later.

After recording its first infection of the new variant, China released a health bulletin warning its people that the new variant “poses a great potential threat to the prevention and control of COVID-19 in China.” However, Shanghai-based infectious disease expert Zhang Wenhong urged the public not to panic, saying there was nothing special about the case of the 23-year-old COVID-19 patient. “The patient’s symptoms were so mild that it did not even need my attention,” he said.

Scientists said the new coronavirus variant, which was first discovered on Dec. 8 in the U.K., is 40-70 percent more contagious than the earlier strain. Since its discovery, the virus has infected more than 30 countries around the world. As a precautionary measure, more than 40 countries have banned travelers from the U.K.

Coronavirus The new program provides support to the National Urban League, UnidosUS and local nonprofits nationwide to help address rates of infection, joblessness, and the dearth of vital resources needed in Black and Latino U.S. communities disproportionately afflicted by COVID-19. Photo by Tai's Captures on Unsplash