According to the Czech health minister Jan Blatný, three people are currently being examined in the hospital under suspicion of having a mutated variant of COVID-19.

All three of these people recently visited Zanzibar off the coast of Tanzania. 

“In three people from the Czech Republic, we suspect an infection with a new type of coronavirus; the so-called South African mutation. The samples are now in the National Reference Laboratory and sequencing is being done for confirmation. These are people who have returned from Zanzibar.”

The South African mutation, scientifically known as Variant B.1.351, hasn’t yet been discovered in the Czech Republic. However, the British mutation, or E484K, has been in the country for some time now. According to René Levínský, director of the Czech Centre for Modeling Biological and Societal Processes, up to 80% of those infected with the coronavirus in the Czech Republic may have the British E484K. 

Zanzibar has been a popular vacation spot for Czechs and Europeans alike because of its relaxed policies on traveling. Anyone flying from the Czech Republic to Zanzibar hasn’t been required to have a vaccine, take a test, or go into quarantine. There is no word yet on how the Ministry of Health will react if it turns out that Zanzibar is a hub for the new mutation.