Health and Science

UK has 77 cases of South African COVID variant, 9 of Brazilian, minister says

Key Points
  • All the cases are connected to travel from South Africa and under close observation, Hancock said.
A nurse adjusts her PPE in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) in St George's Hospital in Tooting, south-west London, where the number of intensive care beds for the critically sick has had to be increased from 60 to 120, the vast majority of which are for coronavirus patients.
Victoria Jones - PA Images | PA Images | Getty Images

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Sunday that 77 cases of the South African variant of COVID-19 had been found in the United Kingdom, all of them connected to travel from South Africa and under close observation.

Hancock also said there was a very low number of cases of the Brazilian variant, 9 at the latest count, and those were also being closely monitored.

"There are 77 known cases of the South African variant here in the UK," Hancock said on BBC television.

"They are under very close observation, and we have enhanced contact tracing to do everything we possibly can to stop them from spreading," he said, adding that all the known cases were people who had travelled from South Africa or had contact with someone else who had done so.