Iran has reported its first case of a highly contagious coronavirus variant that emerged in the United Kingdom.
The case was an Iranian arriving back to the country from the UK, Health Minister Saeed Namaki said on Tuesday.
The announcement came the day Iran’s health ministry reported the country, the hardest hit by the coronavirus in the Middle East, had recorded its lowest daily death toll in nearly seven months.
“Unfortunately, we found the first case of the mutated British COVID-19 from a dear compatriot who had returned from England … and who was admitted to one of our private hospitals,” Namaki told state TV.
“We did not find any trace of this virus in the patient’s relatives.”
Health ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari told state TV that Iran had recorded 98 coronavirus deaths in the past 24 hours, its lowest figure since June 18.
The country has officially recorded 55,748 deaths and 1,255,620 infections since announcing its first cases in February last year.
In late December, Iran extended a night-time curfew to hundreds of lower-risk cities and towns in an effort to sustain a decline in the number of new coronavirus infections and deaths.
The curfew banned the use of private cars to reduce the level of contact between people.
In late December, Iran said it was due to start testing a domestically produced coronavirus vaccine on human subjects as the country continues to face difficulties in importing sufficient quantities of vaccines due to US sanctions.