Covid in Scotland: No further cases of Brazil variant detected

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image captionThe new strain was identified as concerning because it is thought to be more contagious

No further cases of the Covid-19 Brazil variant of have been found in Scotland, the Scottish government has said.

It emerged on Monday that three oil workers tested positive for the new strain after flying into Aberdeen from Brazil, via Paris and London.

Experts believe this variant (P1) - first detected in northern Brazil in January - could be more contagious.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said there was "no evidence" of community transmission of the P1 strain.

"Active" contact tracing of passengers on the Heathrow to Aberdeen flight has now stopped.

But Ms Freeman said anyone on flight BA1312 from London Heathrow to Aberdeen on 29 January who had not yet been contacted should call the national contact tracing centre.

The three Scottish residents all tested positive for Covid while in managed quarantine arranged by their employer.

A further 555 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in Scotland on Saturday, along with 12 deaths following a positive test for the virus within the past 28 days.

This brings the total number of deaths under this measure to 7,421.

The health secretary said that, as of 09:30 on Saturday, 69 people had been contacted out of the 90 people on the Heathrow-Aberdeen flight, including three crew.

"There is no evidence of any community transmission of the P1 variant so far, and I am grateful to health protection teams, local clinicians and contact tracers for their efforts to contact the remaining passengers," she said.

"Since sequencing of the P1 variant was confirmed on 27 February, enhanced contact tracing has identified around 300 further contacts or contacts of contacts who, where appropriate, were offered testing on a precautionary basis and advised to self-isolate.

"We have used all available options and done everything possible to contact all passengers, including referring to flight manifests and telephone information from the Community Health Index to make contact. Some passengers only have international telephone numbers so it is possible they are no longer in Scotland."

'Low' risk

A school was identified as part of the "enhanced" contact tracing operation.

The Scottish government said it was not identifying the school for privacy reasons but added the risk to pupils and staff was "very low".

Six cases of the Brazil variant were detected in the UK in February. One of the people infected was finally identified in England on Friday.

The three Scottish cases were not linked to any of the three in England.

The strain was identified as concerning because it is thought to be more contagious.

However, there is no evidence that the variant causes more serious illness for the vast majority of people who become infected.

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