First UK cases of Brazilian Covid 'variant of concern' discovered
The first cases of the Brazilian Covid 'variant of concern' have been discovered in the UK
It is feared that the Manaus variant could spread more easily and be more resilient to vaccines.
Up to six cases have been identified in the country, with three cases in England and three cases in Scotland.
Two cases in England are from one household in South Gloucestershire, which has a travel history with Brazil. A third case however is not linked.
Worrying, the location of that person is not currently known. Public Health England has said that the person in question did not fill out their details, so they have been unable to contact them.
Anyone who took a test on February 12nd or 13th and has not received their results is being asked to come forward immediately.
Surge testing is also to begin in South Gloustershire, in postcodes BS32 0, BS32 8, BS32 9, BS34 5 and BS34 6, for residents who are over the age of 16 and have no current symptoms.
Those who work in those postcodes, or have visited them as a part of a support bubble, will also be able to be tested.
PHE and NHS Test and Trace are also looking to contact passengers of Swiss Air flight, LX318, which arrived in Heathrow on February 10th from Sao Paulo via Zurich.
The cases in Scotland are not thought to be connected to the cases on England. Those with the confirmed cases arrived in Scotland after flying back from Brazil via Paris and London, and authorities are also contacting those that were on the same flight to Aberdeen.
"The identification of this new variant is a concern but we are taking every possible precaution," said Scottish Health Secretary Jeane Freeman.
"This new variant demonstrates how serious Covid is and reinforces the need to minimise the spread of the virus."