Four more people in the UK were diagnosed with the Brazilian variant of the coronavirus on Thursday, health authorities said, bringing the total number of people with the deadly mutation to ten.
The majority of the newly identified cases originate from the individuals who first contracted the variant in South Gloucestershire and had recently flown back from Brazil via Zurich in Switzerland.
The three individuals live in the same locality and are either family members or people of close contact.
The fourth individual with the mutation is from Bradford in northwest England and tested positive for the variant after having returned from Brazil to London via Paris in France.
Public Health England has advised all those who have been in close contact with the individuals affected to isolate themselves.
Earlier this month, six cases of the Brazilian P1 variant were detected in the UK, three in England and three in Scotland. The government identified all six individuals with the mutation after a lengthy manhunt.
The New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag) has designated the P1 mutation as a “variant of concern” as it is highly transmissible and capable of evading antibodies produced by the vaccine.
The P1 mutation originates from Manuas, Brazil, and was first detected in Japan. P2, another variant similar to P1, was also discovered in Manaus but has fewer deadly mutations.
On Thursday, 6,753 people had a confirmed positive test for the virus, bringing the total number of cases this week to 40,321. This represents a 13.8% decrease in comparison to the previous week.
Some 181 deaths were reported within 28 days of testing positive for the virus on Thursday. Between March 5 and March 11, there were 1,143 deaths within 28 days of testing. This shows a 35.9% decrease in comparison to the previous week.
More than 23 million had been administered their first dose of the vaccine by the end of March 10, with over 1.35 million people receiving the second dose.
The latest R range for the UK stands at 0.7-0.9, with the current growth rate at -5% to -3% per day. The R number is a mechanism used to rate the virus’s ability to spread, with R being the number of people that one infected person will pass the virus on to.