Matt Hancock has urged everyone living in South Gloucestershire to remain vigilant after cases of a Brazil variant ‘of concern’ were identified in the area.
Speaking during a Downing Street briefing today (March 1), the Health Secretary said of the six cases found in Britain, five people have been tracked.
The hunt for the sixth person continues, and anyone who had a test on either February 12 or 13, who has not received their results back should get in touch.
He told the briefing this test was conducted two weeks ago, and since then no further positive tests for the new variant have been confirmed.
Mr Hancock said: “We have been in contact with them and their families and we are grateful to them for understanding the seriousness of the situation.
“We are putting in place surge testing in South Gloucestershire as a precaution, and I urge everyone to remain vigilant.
“One of the six completed a test but did not successfully complete their contact details, and we are therefore asking anyone who took a test of the 12th or 13th of February, but hasn’t received the result back, to please get in touch by calling 119.”
He also confirmed that this new variant would not derail schools from reopening next week and defended the UK’s border arrangements.
He said home quarantine measures were already in place and travel restrictions on Brazil had been imposed before the hotel policy was implemented.
“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,” he said.
“There is no evidence that the sixth case did not follow those quarantine rules – we need to obviously get in contact with the person in question.”