German health authorities put a Berlin hospital under quarantine after 20 patients and staff members tested positive for a more infectious variant of the coronavirus discovered in Britain and spreading fast around the world, officials said on Saturday.

Iran Press/Europe: The number of people at the Humboldt hospital infected with the more infectious B117 variant was likely to rise further in the coming days, a spokeswoman of public hospital operator Vivantes told Reuters.

Berlin's Vivantes Humboldt Hospital says it is not accepting new patients after several cases of the new, more infectious British coronavirus variant were discovered. 

"New patients and emergencies will be redirected to other hospitals," the spokeswoman said.

Routine screenings in the ward for internal medicine and cardiology have revealed positive test results in 14 people so far, the hospital confirmed on Saturday.

The new strain of the coronavirus that emerged in Britain is more transmissible and potentially also more deadly than the previously prevalent one, according to experts.

The admissions ban imposed since midnight is in effect until further notice. 

Hospital staff are under so-called shuttle quarantine, meaning they are only allowed to travel between their homes and the hospital.