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Maryland confirms the case of a contagious South African variant of Covid

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan will hold a press conference in Annapolis, MD on November 17th to discuss COVID-19 concerns.

Bill O & # 39; Leary | The Washington Post | Getty Images

Maryland has reported a case of the new, highly transmittable variant of Covid-19, which was first found in South Africa. This is the third case discovered in the United States, Governor Larry Hogan announced on Saturday.

The case involves an adult resident who lives in the Baltimore area and has not taken any international travel in the past. This has been confirmed by the Maryland health authorities and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"We strongly encourage Marylanders to exercise particular caution to limit the additional risk of transmission associated with this variant," said Hogan. "Please continue to practice normal public health and safety measures, including wearing masks, washing your hands regularly, and distancing yourself."

The first two U.S. cases of the South African variant, known as B.1.351, were identified in South Carolina on January 28. Other variants found in the US come from the UK and Brazil.

The variants do not appear to cause any more serious illness or increased risk of death, but are considered highly contagious. Health officials are particularly concerned about variant B.1.351 as preliminary research suggests that vaccines may be less effective at controlling it.

President Joe Biden last week signed a travel ban on most non-US citizens who entered the country and recently stayed in South Africa, and reintroduced travel restrictions on non-US citizens from the UK and Brazil .

The virus has infected more than 25.9 million people and killed at least 436,000 people in the United States since the pandemic began, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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