First case of new UK coronavirus strain confirmed in Russia

Moscow on Sunday confirmed its first case of the new U.K. coronavirus strain, despite an earlier decision by officials to suspend flights from Britain to stop the mutation reaching Russia. One person returning to Russia from the U.K. was found to have been infected with the new strain, the head of Russia’s health regulator Rospotrebnadzor told state-run television.

Watchdog head Anna Popova did not specify when the individual tested positive for coronavirus or any other circumstances surrounding the discovery. The B117 coronavirus strain is thought to have first emerged in southeastern England late last year, and has since been detected in dozens of countries around the world. Officials in Moscow temporarily suspended flights to and from the U.K. in December, following a similar move by dozens of other countries in the wake of the emergence of the new strain. Russia has one of the highest infection rates in the world and officials on Sunday confirmed a total of nearly 3.5 million cases. Health officials last month admitted the country’s virus toll was much higher than previously reported, making Russia the third-worst hit globally.