One of the three people who tested positive for the new COVID-19 variant, a 75-year-old Maltese woman, is being cared for at hospital but is in a stable condition.

She is not at the Intensive Treatment Unit or the Infectious Disease Unit, a health department spokesperson confirmed to Times of Malta. 

The woman, together with two other people, tested positive to the more contagious variant of COVID-19 over the past few days. 

Health Minister Chris Fearne revealed that the new variant had appeared in Malta in a tweet on Wednesday morning.

Later in the day Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci said three cases had been detected so far. Two of them, a 37-year-old woman and a 47-year-old man, arrived from the UK on December 19. 

On Thursday the health spokesperson confirmed that the third case, a 75-year-old woman, was also linked to the UK.

"Further investigation of the case identified a contact who had travelled from the UK. Hence, all three positive cases identified to have the UK variant of the virus had contact with the UK. The health authorities appeal for continued vigilance," she said.

News of the new variant has led to dozens of countries, including Malta, banning most travel from the UK, except for repatriation of residents and citizens. 

Since the variant was reported, it has been confirmed worldwide,  mostly linked to people arriving from Britain.

However, an infection in Canada was found in a couple who had no known travel history. 

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