Brazilian variant of Covid-19 found in South Gloucestershire

Further surge testing is being carried out in South Gloucestershire. Credit: PA

Two cases of the Brazilian variant of Covid-19 have been found in South Gloucestershire.

They are from one household and originate from an individual who travelled back from Brazil on 10 February - five days before the quarantine hotel policy was introduced.

The traveller isolated in South Gloucestershire with the rest of their household under the rules in place at the time. One member was tested after showing Covid symptoms.

The two cases are among three that have been detected in England so far, with authorities now trying to find the currently unidentified third that is not believed to be linked.

It is understood this variant, known as Manaus, is a new strain that may spread more rapidly and respond less well to the existing coronavirus vaccines.

Surge testing will now begin in South Gloucestershire from today (Monday 1 March) for residents who live within five postcode areas and are aged over 16 with no symptoms.

The postcodes

  • BS32 0

  • BS32 8

  • BS32 9

  • BS34 5

  • BS34 6

People who travel into the five postcode areas for work or to visit someone they are in a support bubble with are also able to have a test.

Surge testing has taken place in South Gloucestershire. Credit: PA images

PHE and NHS Test and Trace are also contacting the passengers on Swiss Air flight, LX318 travelling from Sao Paulo, through Zurich, and landing in London Heathrow on 10 February.

Sara Blackmore, Director of Public Health at South Gloucestershire Council, said: “We are keen that all South Gloucestershire residents in the postcode areas identified take part in this testing, which will help us to identify positive cases and prompt self-isolation, which helps to break the chain of transmission.

 “We do recognise the challenge for residents of undertaking another additional testing programme and want to thank you in advance for your patience and support as we continue to work together to protect our communities from Covid-19.

 “We are working together with local and regional health partners, Public Health England and NHS Test and Trace, to deliver this swift, safe and co-ordinated response, with an enhanced community testing offer available to people in and around areas where this variant has been discovered. 

Drive-in surge testing sites will be open at Stoke Gifford Parkway Park & Ride, as well as The Mall Coach Park at The Mall Cribbs Causeway from 9am.