Second mutant strain of coronavirus detected in the UK and quarantine ordered immediately
- 23 December 2020
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced another new variant of the coronavirus has been detected in the UK, APA reports citing Herald Scotland.
The UK Government health secretary said there have been two cases detected of a new, further mutated, strain of the coronavirus.
Anyone who has been in contact with anyone who has travelled from South Africa, or those who have been there themselves in the last two weeks, must quarantine immediately he said.
During a press conference this afternoon Mr Hancock said the new mutant strain is "more concerning" as it is more contagious than the first mutant virus which is thought to have spread widely across the country since being detected in September.
Those who have tested positive for this South African mutation are being quarantined, Mr Hancock explained.
He said: "The fight against the virus is a global effort, and we're constantly vigilant and looking around the world.
"As part of our surveillance, and thanks to the impressive genomic capability of the South Africans, we've detected two cases of another new variant of coronavirus here in the UK.
"Both are contacts of cases who have travelled from South Africa over the past few weeks.
"This new variant is highly concerning, because it is yet more transmissible and it appears to have mutated further than the new variant that has been discovered in the UK."
The Health secretary said the people who are positive for the new mutation of the virus have been quarantined, as well as their close contacts.
He added: "We're placing immediate restrictions on travel from South Africa and finally, and most importantly, anyone in the UK who has been in South Africa in the past fortnight and anyone who is a close contact of someone who's been in South Africa, in the last fortnight must quarantine immediately.
"By quarantine, I mean they must restrict all contact with any other person, whatsoever. We'll be changing the law to give this legal effect imminently."