The Speaker
Monday, 24 June 2024 – 08:40

Two cases identified in UK of new variant of COVID-19 linked to South Africa

Another new variant of COVID-19 has been identified, with two cases so far confirmed in the UK, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said.

The new variant of the virus is thought to be even ‘more transmissible’ than the variant which has been recently identified and linked to sharp rises in COVID-19 cases in parts of the UK.

Both of the cases of the latest variant are being linked to travel to South Africa, where the variant is much more widespread. As a result, the UK has implemented travel restrictions with South Africa.

Anyone in the UK who has visited South Africa in the past 14 days, and anyone they have been in contact with, are being told to self-isolate immediately. 

The full significance of the new strain of the virus is not yet known, though the new strain is now thought to be the dominant form of COVID-19 in parts of South Africa, which has experienced rapid increases in cases recently.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office is currently advising against all but essential travel to the whole of South Africa.

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