Europe

Full list of areas where urgent testing is taking place for mutant Covid

Urgent testing is to take place to try and stop community spread of a mutated variant of coronavirus first identified in South Africa.

Around 80,000 people in England will be asked to take a test, after 11 people were found to have contracted the mutant strain who had no links to travel.

This suggests there may pockets of spread in local communities of the new variant, with the possibility of further cases.

All but two areas where the variant has already been identified involved single cases of the variant.

Experts from Public Health England (PHE), who have been sequencing around 5% to 10% of all positive cases looking for variants, are now hoping to break any chains of transmission.

The South African variant is thought to be as transmissible as the variant that was first identified in Kent but there is no evidence as yet that it causes more severe disease.

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