Up to six cases of a extremely transmissible variant of coronavirus first recognized in the Brazilian metropolis of Manaus have been detected in Britain for the primary time, English well being officers mentioned on Sunday.
Three cases have been discovered in England and one other three in Scotland.
Two of three cases discovered in England have been from a family in the South Gloucestershire space that had a historical past of journey to Brazil. A 3rd, at present unlinked, case has but to be recognized, Public Health England mentioned.
The threat to the broader group from the Gloucestershire cases was thought of low however as a precaution officers have been shifting rapidly to deploy testing and growing the sequencing of constructive coronavirus samples from the realm, PHE mentioned.
The Scottish cases weren’t linked to those in England.
The P.1 variant detected in Manaus shares some mutations with a variant first recognized in South Africa and it’s doable that it would reply much less nicely to present vaccines, PHE mentioned.
Susan Hopkins, PHE’s strategic response director for COVID-19, mentioned Britain’s superior gene sequencing capabilities meant it was discovering extra variants and mutations than many different international locations.
Late final yr Britain detected a extra transmissible variant of coronavirus that’s believed to have originated close to London and that led to a pointy rise in cases in the nation and past.
“The important thing to remember is that COVID-19, no matter what variant it is, spreads in the same way. That means the measures to stop it spreading do not change,” Hopkins mentioned.
PHE and check and hint officers system have been following up with all passengers on Swiss Air flight LX318 from Sao Paulo to London by way of Zurich, which landed at London Heathrow on February 10, to check them and their households.
All three of the Scottish cases have been recognized in individuals who returned to the nation by way of Paris and London who self-isolated for the required interval of 10 days.
“Due to the potential concerns around this variant other passengers on the flight used by the three individuals from London to Aberdeen are being contacted,” the Scottish authorities mentioned.