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Hunt for missing person with Manaus variant narrows to 379 households – Hancock

Jane Kirby, PA Health Editor
·2-min read

The hunt for a missing person infected with a Manaus variant of coronavirus has been narrowed down to 379 households in the South East of England, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has told MPs.

To date, six cases of the variant of concern have been found in the UK – three in Scotland and three in England.

A public appeal has been made for one of those people in England to come forward after they took a test in February but left no contact details.

Mr Hancock told the Commons the appeal had resulted in a number of leads and it was thought the affected person took a home test.

“We know that five of these six people quarantined at home as they were legally required to do,” he said of the six UK cases.

“We’re stepping up our testing and sequencing in south Gloucestershire as a precaution.

“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.”