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Zurich: The first case of the Indian variant of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Switzerland, the Federal Office for Public Health (BAG) said, as other countries introduce travel bans to contain its spread. The case involved a passenger who arrived in Switzerland via a transit airport and not directly from India, which has been hit hard by a massive wave of infections in recent days, the BAG said on Twitter.

The test took place at the end of March, BAG told Reuters on Sunday, adding the person entered Switzerland via a European country.

BAG said consultations were now underway on whether to add India to its list of high-risk countries, from where people must immediately go into quarantine upon arrival in Switzerland.

"The reason for this is the rapid spread of the variant in the country," a spokesman said, referring to India, adding there was currently no accurate information on how infectious or how much more dangerous the new variant was.

Italy on Sunday joined other countries by imposing restrictions on travel from India to avert the spread of the variant.

India has reported more than 300,000 new cases each day for the past four days, more than anywhere else in the world since the pandemic began.

Meanwhile, the Swiss government estimates that about one-third of the population has been infected with Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic.

At the end of 2020, government scientists found antibodies in about 20% of those tested and now believe that another 10% have been infected, newspaper NZZ am Sonntag reported.

“Conservatively calculated, around a third of the population has been infected since the beginning of the pandemic," said Federal Office of Public Health spokeswoman, Simone Buchmann.

Of the 2.8 million people thought to have already contracted the virus, many are unaware as they showed no symptoms. Only about 650,000 people in the Alpine nation have received positive Covid tests during the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the first case of the variant that is driving a deadly outbreak in India was identified in Switzerland, NZZ reported. The person was in the northwestern canton of Solothurn and tested positive at the end of March. They were quarantined and did not infect others, NZZ reported.

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