United Kingdom government defends border controls after Brazil variant cases found

Lawrence Kim
Марта 3, 2021

Experts fear that this SARS-CoV-2 strain, which may be more contagious than the original virus, is resistant to vaccines against covid-19 (respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus) being administered in the UK ( Pfizer / BioNTech and AstraZeneca / Oxford).

Three cases have been confirmed in England and three in Scotland, Public Health England (PHE) said.

The health secretary said officials had identified the batch of home testing kits in question, meaning the search "narrowed from whole country down to 379 households in the South East and we're contacting each one".

Mr Hancock also said there was no evidence to suggest one of those who tested positive for the variant, and is now not accounted for, had broken quarantine rules.

He said: "All the evidence is that the five cases that we know about followed those quarantine rules and that, I hope, is very reassuring to people".

The government is urging anyone who took a test on February 12 or 13 and has not received a result, or has an uncompleted test registration card, to contact the NHS on either 119 for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, or 0300 303 2713 for Scotland.

Mr Hancock said the government is "stepping up testing and sequencing in South Gloucestershire" where two cases were identified, to contain the spread of the variant.

Officials are contacting the other passengers on their flight from London to Aberdeen. Direct flights from Brazil to the United Kingdom have been halted, but the newly identified cases have been linked to people who came to the United Kingdom from Brazil through other European cities in early February.

Two other people in the same household have also tested positive but are not now included in the United Kingdom case total of six, while tests on their type of coronavirus continue.

He said at the moment, they were very focused on what we're seeing today but warned of the need to start moving away from an "obsession" with each variant as it appears.

"This new variant demonstrates how serious Covid is and reinforces the need to minimise the spread of the virus". In Scotland anyone with symptoms is advised to self-isolate for seven days.

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