Possible new case of Brazilian Covid-19 variant identified

Nicola Sturgeon said it was not believed to be linked to three cases who earlier flew into Scotland from Brazil.

Possible new case of Brazilian Covid-19 variant identified PA Ready
Airport: Nicola Sturgeon said it was not believed to be linked to three cases who earlier flew into Scotland from Brazil.

A possible case of a new strain of coronavirus has been identified in Scotland – though Nicola Sturgeon stressed this was not linked to three earlier cases of the so-called P1 variant.

The First Minister was also clear there was “no indication of onward community transmission of this variant”.

As a result she said the authorities “currently have no reason to believe that this case presents any risk to the wider community”.

Further tests are being done to confirm the genomic sequencing of the case.

But concerns have already been raised that the P1 strain of the virus, first identified in Japan but associated with Manaus, Brazil, could be more contagious than the current dominant strain, with uncertainty also about how it responds to vaccines.

The suspected new case was identified in a person who flew to Scotland from Rio de Janeiro, via Paris, arriving in the country on February 19.

Sturgeon said there were 22 passengers and cabin crew on the flight into Scotland, with 11 passengers – including the person in question – going into “managed quarantine” on arrival.

Other passengers, who self-isolated at home, are now being contacted by Public Health Scotland and offered advice.

It comes after earlier cases of the new variant were identified in Scotland, with these found in three people who travelled from Heathrow to Aberdeen on January 29.

Sturgeon said that the latest possible case was not linked to that – even though there were “a small number of passengers on that flight who weren’t able to be traced”.

The First Minister stated: “The most important thing to stress at this stage is there is no indication of onward community transmission of this variant, that is what we need to work hard to continue to ensure.”