(Update with details)
LONDON, Feb 28 (Reuters) – Six cases of the first identified corona virus variant have been detected in the UK in the Brazilian city of Manaus, British health officials said on Sunday.
Two of the three cases found in the UK had a travel history in Brazil from a home in the South Gloucestershire area, while the third case is currently unrelated, according to the Public Health UK.
“As a precautionary measure, PHE, in conjunction with the South Gloucestershire Council and the NHS, is taking swift and decisive action to implement tests on asymptomatic patients, as well as increasing positive sequences of the area,” he said.
The Scottish cases are not related to the UK.
The P1 variant found in Manas shares some mutations with a variant first identified in South Africa, and may be less responsive to current vaccines, but more work is needed to understand this, according to the UK-based PHE.
Susan Hopkins, director of PHE’s strategic response to COVID-19, said Britain’s advanced genetic sequencing capabilities were more varied and mutated than other countries.
Late last year, the UK detected a highly contagious variant of the corona virus believed to have appeared near London, leading to an increase in cases both domestically and abroad.
“The important thing to remember is that COVID-19, no matter how different it is, spreads the same way. That means the measures to prevent its spread do not change,” Hopkins said.
All passengers on the Swiss Air Flight LX318 from Sao Paulo to London via Zurich, which landed in Heathrow on February 10, were monitored by PHE and testing and trace system officials.