105 cases of South African coronavirus variant found in England

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BBC News reported that close to 80 000 English residents will be offered urgent tests for the South African variant after the United Kingdom found cases that had no links to travelling.

Residents, 16 and above, are being asked to take tests, whether they show signs of symptoms or not.

Previous cases in the UK were linked to South Africa. However, random checks found that 11 cases were not related to international travel, said the publication.

Matt Hancock, the UK’s Secretary of State for Health told a news conference on Monday that there was “currently no evidence” suggesting that this variant was “any more severe . . . ”

“It is imperative that you stay at home, and that you get a test, even if you don’t have symptoms,” appealed Hancock to the residents. “This is so important so that we can break the chains of the transmission of this new variant, and we’ve got to bring this virus to heel,” Hancock further concluded.

The publication further states that Professor Jim McManus, the director of public health for Hertfordshire said that if all cases are detected, it might be “possible” to wipe out the variant within two weeks.

“[Officials] may find this has spread beyond that, so it may take three weeks or more, but we will give this everything we have got,” said McManus.

When asked about the effectiveness of the vaccines against the variant, strategic response director at Public Health England, Dr Susan Hopkins told the publication: “Three of the vaccines that have been used to date in the trials have shown that they’ve been effective against the South African variant at a level greater than was set as the minimum standard by the WHO [World Health Organisation.]

“We expect all other vaccines to have a similar level of effectiveness, particularly in reducing hospitalisation and death.”

According to the latest BBC UK report, it has been deemed critical that residents in the identified areas in the UK, stay home. The government will be deploying on-the-spot doorstep tests, home testing kits and mobile testing units in a number of areas.