Great Britain

Covid news - live: Hunt for UK patient with Brazil ‘variant of concern’ as 20 million receive first vaccine

More than 20 million people in UK vaccinated against Covid-19

Officials are hunting for one of the first UK cases of a Brazilian coronavirus “variant of concern”.

Public Health England (PHE) on Sunday announced six cases of the concerning P.1 variant first detected in the Brazilian city of Manaus had been confirmed in Britain, three in England and three in Scotland.

Two cases of the variant, which may spread more rapidly and respond less well to existing vaccines, were confirmed in South Gloucestershire but the third English case has not been located and could be anywhere in the nation.

PHE revealed the person did not complete their test registration card so their contact details were absent as health officials scrambled to track down the individual.

Matt Hancock confirmed 20 million people in the UK have now received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

The health secretary posted a video on Twitter with the announcement over the weekend and thanked “every single person who’s come forward to get the jab”.

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Likely Brazilian variant is ‘breaking through’ antibodies

Danny Altmann, professor of immunology at Imperial College, said it looks likely the Brazilian variant is "breaking through" antibodies built up by previous infection.

Citing research on the Brazilian city of Manaus, published in The Lancet journal, he said: "It was expected that there would be quite a high level of protection there because analysis of antibodies in blood bank samples showed [Manaus] had one of the highest levels of immunity in the world coming into the second wave, perhaps more than 70 per cent, and yet they're seeing this enormous wave of reinfections."

"So, if you put two and two together their assumption is that's because the new variant is breaking through those antibodies. But if that hadn't really been proven yet, it looks likely."

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Officials working with postal service to find person infected with Brazil variant

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said authorities were working with the postal service to locate a person infected with a concerning variant of coronavirus first found in Brazil.

Asked if it is known if the person had travelled to the UK or contracted the virus here, he told BBC Breakfast: "We don't. Part of the reason why we want to locate them quickly is to understand more about them and their movements.

"They could have had a home test kit or a test kit provided to them by their local authority. But they didn't fill in the contact details.

"We are working with the postal service to try and get other data to try and locate them, and this appeal is a belt and braces to try and make sure we locate them as quickly as possible."

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20 million people in UK have now received first vaccine dose

More than 20 million people in the UK have now received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

Health secretary Matt Hancock posted a video on his Twitter account with the announcement and thanked “every single person who’s come forward to get the jab”.

‘What an achievement for February 2021,’ says vaccines minister

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Hunt for UK patient with Brazil ‘variant of concern’

Health officials are hunting for one of the first UK cases of a Brazil “variant of concern”.

Six cases of the concerning P.1 variant first detected in the Brazilian city of Manaus have been confirmed in Britain, three in England and three in Scotland.

Two were confirmed in South Gloucestershire - however, the third English case has not been located and could be anywhere in the nation.

Kate Ng has more details:

Three cases of new variant identified in England and three in Scotland

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Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. Stay tuned for rolling updates on the latest news and statistics.

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