South African Covid variant found in West Kent

South African Covid variant found in West Kent
Coronavirus Update

It is understood one case was identified in the Maidstone ME15 area of the county, where mass testing is now expected to be carried out.

Households in the area will be visited by staff from Kent Police, Maidstone Council, Kent Fire and Rescue and other agencies and asked to carry out a test, even if they have no symptoms.

The variant, which is feared could be unresponsove to current vaccinations being rolled out across Britain, has been found in eight areas of the UK, including Surrey, London, Walsall in the West Midlands and Hertfordshire. 

Around 100 people have been identified with the variant in the UK since it was first identified, but health officials say this is the first signal that the virus is spreading within communities.

Health officals have found 11 cases, which they say cannot be directly linked back to people who had travelled to South Africa, prompting fears there may be community transmission of the virus.

More than 80,000 people are expected to be tested in the locations where the variant has been found.

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