A new variant of coronavirus, which caused a surge in cases, has been detected in one of Bavaria’s local hospitals, according to the newspaper Munchner Merkur

As of Monday, the new strain had reportedly been found in 52 patients and 21 healthcare workers. Berlin’s Charite hospital confirmed the mutation found in Bavaria has never been detected before, thought it’s still unclear whether the new strain is more contagious.

Earlier in the day, the German Health Ministry announced it was going to set up a special mechanism to detect and systemise coronavirus mutations in order to curb the spread of new strains.

Following the detection of two mutated COVID-19 strains, initially discovered in the UK and South Africa, the German Health Ministry aims to process more information on how the mutations will change in the country. The nation’s health minister, Jens Spahn, stressed that those regional laboratories doing research on the coronavirus will be obliged to provide data to the Robert Koch Institute in compliance with amendments to legislation about epidemiological protection.

Last week, Germany reported the first case of the South African strain of the coronavirus in a person who returned from there in December. The health authorities also confirmed the UK strain of COVID has been present in Germany since November 2020.

To date, Germany has confirmed 2,033,518 coronavirus cases and 46,419 COVID-related deaths, according to the Robert Koch Institute.