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Mysterious Lapland coronavirus variant is rare US-Mexican strain

The chain of coronavirus infections in the Kemijärvi region last month has since calmed.

Kemijärven kaupungintalo.
About 350 people in Kemijärvi were placed in quarantine last month. Image: Tapani Leisti / Yle

A mysterious coronavirus variant detected in the Lapland municipality of Kemijärvi in late March has been found to be a rare American-Mexican strain of the virus.

Genetic sequence of the variant showed that it was not one of the British, Brazilian or South African strains blamed for the recent upsurge in infections across Europe.

"The infections in Lake Kemijärvi were an American-Mexican variant, which has previously been known to have been diagnosed only once before in Finland," Lapland Hospital District's Markku Broas said, adding that the Kemijärvi infections may have had a connection to Central America.

Nine infections were found in the Kemijärvi region last month and about 350 people were quarantined. The chain of infection has since been broken.

On Friday, Lapland's first South African variant of the virus was diagnosed in Rovaniemi.

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