Mystery U.K. Person With Brazil Covid Variant Found After Lengthy Hunt

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A mystery person with a concerning Brazilian variant of the coronavirus in the U.K. has been found after an extensive hunt.

Six cases of the variant, which originated in the Amazonian city of Manaus, had been detected in the U.K -- but the identity of the final patient was unknown because they failed to complete a test registration card.

On Wednesday the search was narrowed to 379 households in the south of England, and that person has now been found in south London, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced at a news conference Friday.

Hancock said the “best evidence is this person stayed at home” and there was no sign of “onward transmission.” Further testing is to minimize spread of the variant, known as P1.

The search for the missing patient sparked concern across government because it is not yet known whether the Brazilian variant is resistant to the vaccines being rolled out across the U.K.

Despite the success of the U.K. vaccination program so far -- two in five adults have had a shot so far -- the episode highlights the challenges faced by the test and trace system in keeping track of how the virus spreads across the country.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned that the emergence of a potentially vaccine-resistant variant could derail the planned timings for reopening parts of the economy that have been under lockdown for over two months. Non-essential shops and outdoor hospitality are due to re-open in April.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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