Two additional cases of the new COVID-19 variant have been reported in S. Korea; bringing the total to five.
According to authorities, one is a South Korean man in his 80s who was found to have contracted the new variant after he died in hospital in Ilsan, Gyeonggi-do Province.
He returned to South Korea in mid-December and had an underlying heart condition.
Three family members have also tested positive and further testing is underway to determine whether they have the new variant.
One of whom returned to South Korea earlier than the others and visited a hospital, a hair salon and a supermarket so further transmissions are possible.
However, one health expert reiterates the importance of wearing masks.
"The virus itself cannot pass through masks. It's transmitted when talking or sneezing. It does have a higher rate of transmission but if people wear masks properly people won't get infected any easier."
Another case is a woman in her 20s who transited in the United Arab Emirates.
She tested positive upon arrival in Korea and is now receiving treatment.
The other three cases are all family members who came in from the UK.
In the U.S., a first case of the new variant has been reported in Colorado.
Health authorities are investigating as to whether there could be any more throughout the state.
Meanwhile, in Taiwan one case of the new COVID-19 variant has been discovered.
Foreign nationals without residency permits will be banned from entering the country starting New Year's Day.
Jang Tae-hyun, Arirang News.