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27th Nov 2021

Two cases of new Omicron variant of Covid-19 detected in UK

Kieran Galpin

The two cases are said to be linked.

Two cases of the new Omicron variant of Covid-19 have been detected in the UK, its Health Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed on Saturday.

Javid revealed that the two individuals are now self-isolating and that there will be targeted testing in Chelmsford and Nottingham, the areas where the cases were discovered.

“We have been made aware by the UK Health Security Agency of two UK cases of the Omicron variant,” the Health Secretary wrote on Twitter.

“The two cases are linked and there is a connection with travel to southern Africa.

“These individuals are self-isolating with their households while further testing and contact tracing is underway.

“As a precaution, we are rolling out additional targeted testing in the affected areas – Nottingham and Chelmsford – and sequencing all positive cases.

“This is a fast-moving situation and we are taking decisive steps to protect public health.”

Javid stated Angola, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia are to be added to the UK’s travel red list, effective from 4am on Sunday.

“If you have returned from there in the last 10 days you must isolate and get PCR tests,” the Health Secretary explained.

He also said that for people eligible for their booster jab: “Now is the time to get it”.

On Friday, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesostho, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe were added to the UK’s red list after the discovery of Omicron, which was first detected in South Africa.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said the Omicron strain contains a large number of mutations.

“The concern is that when you have so many mutations, it can have an impact on how the virus behaves,” Infectious Disease Epidemiologist for the WHO Dr Maria Van Kerkhove said.

“Right now, researchers are getting together to understand where these mutations are and what that potentially may mean for our diagnostics, our therapeutics and our vaccines.”

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