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Mystery person infected with COVID “variant of concern” found in UK

Covid

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed Friday that the mystery person infected with the coronavirus “variant of concern” first emerged in Brazil has now been found in Britain.

Speaking at a Downing Street press briefing, Hancock said he is “delighted” in the success of the “flat out work” of health officials to identify the missing case.

The “best evidence” shows that the person has stayed at home and there’s no sign there has been any onward transmission, said Hancock. However, testing will be increased in the local area as a precaution, he added.

The latest development came after six cases of the P1 variant were found in Britain last week, but one of the cases had been unidentified as this person failed to complete the test registration card properly.

There are concerns that this variant may spread more easily, might evade the immune system, or that vaccines might be less effective against it.

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The health secretary has said the current vaccines deployed in Britain had “not yet been studied against this variant” but that work is under way to “understand what impact it might have.”

“One of the most dangerous things about this virus is around one-third of those who get it don’t get any symptoms at all,” Hancock said. Therefore, rapid, regular testing is a “critical part” of the Britain’s response to the pandemic, he said.

Hancock also confirmed that two-fifths of Britain’s entire adult population of have now been vaccinated. The government is “on course” to offering a first vaccine dose to all adults by the end of July, he added.

Nearly 21 million people in Britain have been given the first jab of the coronavirus vaccine, according to the latest official figures.

England is currently under the third national lockdown since outbreak of the pandemic in the country. Similar restriction measures are also in place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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On Feb. 22, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his long-anticipated “roadmap” exiting the lockdown. Schools in England will reopen from March 8 as first part of the four-step plan, which Johnson said was designed to be “cautious but irreversible”.

To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Germany, Russia and the United States have been racing against time to roll out coronavirus vaccines.

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