New coronavirus variant detected in Highlands cluster

Contact tracing has been carried out with all positive cases of the strain in Grantown-on-Spey.

New coronavirus variant detected in Highlands cluster iStock

A new variant of coronavirus has been detected in a town in the Highlands following a cluster of cases. 

Contact tracing has been carried out with all positive cases of the strain in Grantown-on-Spey, with close contacts advised to isolate immediately. 

The variant is under investigation and is not one of the main strains currently circulating in the UK.

NHS Grampian said that while no further cases have been identified to date and the confirmed cases are small in number, enhanced contact tracing and additional PCR testing is being carried out to check it has not spread within the wider community. 

A mobile testing unit will open from Wednesday in Burnfield Avenue car park in the town, and locals are urged to make appointments even if they have no symptoms. 

Testing can also be booked at the Grantown-on-Spey fire station by calling 01463 706015.

Dr Jenny Wares from NHS Highland, said: “We are offering testing for those without symptoms to check that there has been no wider spread within the community. 

“Many people who have coronavirus have no symptoms, or mild symptoms, and will be spreading it without realising it.

“Asymptomatic testing, testing for those without symptoms, will allow us to identify those who are positive but are not displaying symptoms. We can then advise them to self-isolate and therefore prevent spread.

“We also all need to remain vigilant to the symptoms of Covid-19. The typical symptoms are a new continuous cough, a high temperature or fever and a loss of, or change in, normal taste or smell. 

“However, people with Covid-19 may not always experience these symptoms and can present with a wide range of symptoms including headache, sore muscles and joints, tiredness, sore throat, cold-like symptoms and diarrhoea and vomiting. 

“In light of this cluster, we would advise that anyone that becomes unwell with these symptoms should isolate immediately and seek a test via NHS Inform.”