U.K. health officials are anxious to trace one of six individuals infected with a more contagious variant of the coronavirus, initially identified in Brazil. Up to six cases of the new strain — dubbed P.1 and considered a “variant of concern” by global health experts — have been detected in the U.K., with three cases in Scotland and three in England.
However, what’s troubling officials is that one of the three cases found in England has not been traced. The government issued a statement Sunday noting that two of the cases in England are from one household in South Gloucestershire with a history of travel to Brazil, and “there is a third, currently unlinked case.”
The cases in South Gloucestershire, in southeast England, were rapidly followed up by a team from Public Health England, and their contacts were identified and retested, the government said. All passengers on the same flight — Swiss Air flight LX318 from Sao Paulo, via Zurich, to London Heathrow on Feb.10 — were also being tracked by officials.
As a precaution, health officials are stepping up testing of asymptomatic cases in the South Gloucestershire area, and increasing the sequencing of positive samples from the area.
However, further investigation is underway regarding a separate, third case of the variant identified in England, with health officials appealing to anyone who did not receive a result from a Covid test carried out on Feb. 12 or 13 to come forward.
“The individual did not complete their test registration card so follow-up details are not available,” the government noted.
“We are therefore asking for anyone who undertook a test on 12 or 13 February and hasn’t received their result or has an uncompleted test registration card, to call 119 in England or 0300 303 2713 in Scotland for assistance as soon as possible.”