COPENHAGEN, March 3 (Xinhua) -- The first case of a person infected with the highly contagious P1 variant of COVID-19 first identified in Brazil has been found in the Greater Copenhagen region, Denmark's Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said on Twitter on Wednesday.
"The first case of the variant P1 has been found in Denmark.... Intensive infection detection has been initiated. The variant has been found by DTU (Technical University of Denmark), which helps to analyze samples, and confirmed by SSI (Statens Serum Institut)," Heunicke said.
Two other highly contagious SARS-CoV-2 variants -- the B117 identified in Britain and the B1351 variant identified in South Africa -- have already been identified in Denmark, according to the SSI.
The B117 variant was first detected in Denmark last November and has by now become the dominant coronavirus strain in the country.
The B117 mutation was found in 5,138 people in Denmark between Nov. 14, 2020 and Feb. 25, 2021, according to an SSI press release issued on Wednesday.
The B1351 variant is known to have arrived in Denmark in mid-February, and has so far accounted for 13 confirmed infections, with the two most recent cases being confirmed as homegrown, the SSI said.
The Danish health authorities remain uncertain whether the AstraZeneca vaccine will work as effectively against the P1 variant as it has against the common coronavirus.
According to the SSI, Denmark registered 574 new COVID-19 infections and a further three deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the country's total cases and death toll to 212,798 and 2,370, respectively.
As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, vaccination is underway in an increasing number of countries with the already-authorized coronavirus vaccines.
Meanwhile, 258 candidate vaccines are still being developed worldwide -- 76 of them in clinical trials -- in countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain, and the United States, according to information released by the World Health Organization on March 2.