It has been revealed that health officials are on the hunt for an unidentified UK resident who has contracted the Brazil variant of Covid-19. In February, six cases of this variant were discovered in the UK, one of which included a person that authorities are keen to trace. However, this is proving to be a challenge as the person concerned failed to complete a registration form.
Officials are now urging anyone who had a test carried out on 12th or 13th February to come forward if they have not yet had a result. The Brazil strain, which is known as the P1 variant of Covid, first came to light in January. Little is known about its spread and severity at present, which is adding to the concern of it being spread among communities.
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Brazil now on the quarantine list
Since 15th February, Brazil has been on the red list of countries with regard to quarantine. Anyone travelling to the UK from Brazil must now quarantine for ten days upon arrival at a designated hotel where testing will be carried out.
Before that date, those arriving in the UK were asked to self-isolate in their own homes for ten days. However, Nadhim Zahawi, the Vaccines Minister, said there was no way of knowing whether the infected person had travelled abroad. As a result, they may not have been self-isolating at home at the time of infection.
Zahawi stressed the importance of finding the unidentified person and said that Public Health England was working alongside the postal service to try to track them down. He said, "We need to find them as soon as possible."
Health officials have confirmed that the sixth case of the P1 variant has no links to the five that have already been identified. Three of the people confirmed as having this variant are Scottish residents flying to Aberdeen from Brazil via Paris and London. The other two were identified as Gloucestershire residents from the same household.
Brazil variant ‘deeply concerning’
As one of the more recent variants to emerge, little is known about this strain at present. However, there are concerns that the vaccines developed and being used may not be as effective against the P1 strain. Those receiving their jabs may not have the same protection level against this variant as the ones we are already familiar with.
This is causing concern among officials and the general public. It is also one of the reasons why many are so worried about it spreading through communities.
Nick Thomas-Symonds, the Shadow Home Secretary, described the news about the P1 cases as ‘deeply concerning’. He said that everything needed to be done to try and contain the spread of the Brazil virus.
Thomas-Symonds also said the hotel quarantine requirement in the UK came in far too late, and this was a result of the delay. He described the government’s refusal to bring in hotel quarantining earlier as a ‘reckless’ move.