Mystery person with Brazil Covid-19 variant found in Britain after five-day hunt

Volunteers distribute coronavirus self-test kits to British residents to help stop the spread of coronavirus variants. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (BLOOMBERG) - A mystery person with a concerning Brazilian variant of the coronavirus in Britain has been found after a five-day hunt, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Public Health England said last Sunday that six cases of the variant, which originated in the Amazonian city of Manaus, had been detected in Britain - 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 traced.

Health authorities are trying to stop the spread of the variant, known as P1, because of concerns that it may respond less well to current vaccines.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned that the emergence of a 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 open again in April.

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