The Brazilian variant of Covid-19 has been discovered in the UK for the first time, with two cases identified in South Gloucestershire. Here is what we know so far.
The ‘variant of concern’ was first detected in Manaus, a city in the north of Brazil. The P.1 variant has been designated ‘of concern’ as it shares some mutations with the variant first identified in South Africa.
The variant is thought to have emerged in Brazil last year, but was identified last month in Japan.
It is possible that the variant may respond less well to current vaccines, but more work is needed to understand this.
Experts believe the variant could be more contagious but Public Health England (PHE) has said the risk to the wider community is considered low.
While a variant from Brazilian was found in the UK back in January, this is the first time the variant of concern has been discovered.
Both the South Gloucestershire cases are from the same household, with one person having recently returned to the UK from Brazil.
PHE and NHS Test and Trace are following up with all passengers on Swiss Air flight LX318 travelling from Sao Paulo via Zurich and landing in London Heathrow on February 10.
A third currently unlinked case has been found in England, but as the individual did not complete their test registration card their whereabouts are unknown.
Anyone who undertook a Covid test on February 12 or 13 and hasn’t received their result or has an uncompleted test registration card is asked to call 119.
Three cases of the variant have also been discovered in Scotland, but these are not linked to the cases in England.
Surge testing is being offered to residents who live in certain postcode areas in South Gloucestershire. Click here for more details.