Discovered variant of COVID-19 found in England and Scotland

Yolanda Curtis
March 3, 2021

The race is on to identify one of the first people in the United Kingdom believed to have contracted a Brazilian strain of coronavirus.

Health officials in Britain have identified six cases of a highly contagious coronavirus strain first identified in the Brazilian city of Manaus - including one in a person who has not been traced.

"We're grateful that a number of potential cases have come forward following the call that we put out over the weekend".

"This variant has caused significant challenges in Brazil", he added.

Prof Sharon Peacock, the director of COG-UK, which is monitoring emergence of new variants for the Government, said: "The key thing about vaccination is that the majority of disease in the UK is caused by the UK variant, which we can vaccinate against using the vaccines that we have available to us at the moment".

Of the five other cases of the Brazil variant in the United Kingdom, two have been identified in south Gloucestershire and three in Scotland.

Two cases in England are from one household in South Gloucestershire, which has a travel history with Brazil.

© 2021 Getty Images BRISTOL, ENGLAND - MARCH 1: A worker takes a coronavirus test through the window of a auto at a temporary coronavirus testing centre at the Mall Coach Park on March 1, 2021 in Bristol, England.

Experts are concerned, she said, because the Brazil strain "shares some important mutations with the variants first identified in South Africa", another "variant of concern" which spreads much more quickly than the original Covid-19 virus.

The arrivals came days before the United Kingdom imposed a 10-day hotel quarantine on people arriving from high-risk countries, including Brazil.

Three of the cases were found in England, with the other three located in Scotland.

The hunt for a missing person infected with a Manaus variant of coronavirus has been narrowed down to 379 households in the South East of England, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has told MPs.

"Unfortunately one of these six cases completed a test but didn't successfully complete the contact details".

The health secretary said a case going under the radar due to an incomplete test registration is "extremely rare". If you think you have the virus, don't go to the GP or hospital, stay indoors and get advice online.

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