Coronavirus variants continue to spread

The World Health Organization says coronavirus variants continue to spread around the world.

The international health body calls three types first detected in the UK, South Africa and Brazil "variants of concern."

In its weekly epidemiological update issued on Tuesday, the WHO said the UK variant has now spread to 130 countries and territories, up by five.

The South African variant has been confirmed in 80 countries and territories, also up five, and the Brazil variant in 45, up four.

The agency is closely monitoring the situation, as the variants' genetic mutations could affect human immunity and the virus could become more contagious.

The WHO has called six other variants "of interest." They include strains found in the Philippines and Japan in February, and one detected in France in January.

The number of new COVID-19 cases continues to rise on a global scale, with the highest totals reported in Brazil, the United States, India, France and Poland.