Published: 14:40, 02 March 2021
| Updated: 15:46, 02 March 2021
The search for the sixth person to be infected with the Brazil variant of coronavirus has been narrowed down to 379 homes in the south east.
It was announced on Sunday that the new variant had been found in the UK.
Matt Hancock in parliament today
Five of the six people quarantined as they should but the sixth person took a home test and did not leave contact details.
Addressing the House of Commons today, health secretary Matt Hancock announced plans to step up testing and sequencing in south Gloucstershire and that direct contact would be made to hundreds of people in the south east.
He said: “We’re stepping up our testing and sequencing in south Gloucestershire as a precaution.
"We’ve identified the batch of home test kits in question, our search has narrowed from the whole country down to 379 households in the south east of England and we’re contacting each one
“We have no information to suggest the variant has spread further.
“Unfortunately, one of these six cases completed a test but didn’t successfully complete the contact details.
“Incidents like this are rare and only occur in around 0.1% of tests.
“We’ve identified the batch of home test kits in question, our search has narrowed from the whole country down to 379 households in the south-east of England and we’re contacting each one.
“We’re grateful that a number of potential cases have come forward following the call that we put out over the weekend.
“Our current vaccines have not yet been studied against this variant and we’re working to understand what impact it might have, but we do know that this variant has caused significant challenges in Brazil, so we’re doing all we can to stop the spread of this new variant in the UK, to analyse its effects and to develop an updated vaccine that works on all these variants of concern and protect the progress that we’ve made as a nation.”
Last month thousands of people in Maidstone were tested over fears the South African variant was in the area.
Nearly 10,000 tests were carried out as part of Operation Barton and 400 people tested positive. Whether they had the South African variant has not yet been confirmed.