Covid tracers are tracking down contacts from a KFC in the case of an Essex Omicron variant outbreak.
After it was announced that the new Omicron variant had been found in the UK, targeted testing is focusing on two locations in Brentwood, Essex where the variant was found.
One of them is the KFC on Brentwood High Street, where the council are targeting testing on customers, staff and delivery drivers, EssexLive reports.
However, concern has been raised because the contacts have been traced 10 days back to November 19, raising worries that the variant may have been present for far longer than previously known.
This comes as tracers identified a link to the known Omicron Covid-19 case confirmed in Brentwood on Saturday to Larchwood Primary School in Pilgrims Hatch, Brentwood.
It was announced on the Saturday that the new variant had been located in Essex and in Nottingham.
The next day, Essex County Council announced that contact tracers were focusing on individuals who had attended the branch KFC, as well as those who had visited a local church.
Visitors to the KFC between 1pm and 5pm on November 19 are being urged to take a PCR test immediately.
Members of the congregation who visited Trinity Church, two days later, were asked to do the same.
They are being urged to attend mobile testing units, for drive-through appointments only.
It has been reported that the Brentwood case is linked to the other infection in Nottingham, with the latter individual understood to have arrived from southern Africa before coming into contact with the person in Essex.
Essex county council’s director for public health, Dr Mike Gogarty, said: “Thanks to the excellent work of our contact tracers, we have been able to identify settings which are the focus of our attention for testing.
“The aim is to understand what, if any, spread of the new variant within the local community may have occurred and limit the opportunity for any further spread. Robust contact tracing has taken place following identification of the single case.”
On Sunday, the UK Health Security Agency announced a third case of the Omicron variant in the UK. The individual concerned, who is also believed to have travelled from southern Africa, visited Westminster in London before leaving the country. They are understood to have visited the wider borough rather than parliament or Whitehall.
A spokesperson for the council yesterday confirmed the Essex individual had previously traveled to South Africa.
The spokesperson said: "We are working with regional and local public health officers who are assessing the situation. All close contacts of these individuals will be followed up and requested to isolate and get tested.
“The individuals who have so far tested positive, as well as all members of their households, are being re-tested and have been told to self-isolate while contact tracing is underway.
“While this work takes place, it is important that everyone takes sensible precautions – get a PCR test if you have symptoms, isolate when asked, wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces, ventilate rooms, get your vaccine and boosters as soon as you can.”