US: Maryland reports new COVID variant

By Servet Gunerigok

WASHINGTON (AA) -The US state of Maryland confirmed two cases Tuesday of a more contagious coronavirus variant first identified in the UK.

The cases of the new variant, commonly known as B-117, are two residents of the Baltimore region who live in the same household, said the Maryland Department of Health, adding one of them had traveled internationally prior to the infection.

It is believed that this individual transmitted the infection to the other person.

"Our state health officials are closely monitoring the emergence of the B-117 strain of SARS-CoV-2 in the state," said Governor Larry Hogan. "We encourage Marylanders to practice caution to limit the additional risk of transmission associated with this strain."

So far, around 10 states including Colorado, California and New York have detected the new strain, which first emerged in the UK in December.