A COVID strain from India has been found in the UK.
Health officials have confirmed that there have been three reported cases in Leicester, UK, of the Indian variant of coronavirus. Testing is now being carried out at one of the schools in the city.
Leicester City Council claims that the cases are linked to people travelling from India prior to it being placed on the UK Government’s red list on Friday, April 23.
The news comes as India has set a new global record for a rise in daily coronavirus cases for a fifth straight day, while deaths from COVID-19 also jumped by an all-time high over the last 24 hours.
Professor Ivan Browne, the city’s director of public health, has said that the three cases need to be investigated and followed up.
Testing at the unnamed school is just a precautionary measure, the council has said. There is also currently no need for surge testing in the wider community due to the cases all being linked to travel.
According to government data up to April 23, there were 132 confirmed cases of the Indian variant in the UK, which is an increase of 55 from the previous week. These three new cases, however, are the first in the UK to have been given a location.
Prof Browne said: “Public Health England notified us on Sunday that it had identified three cases of the variant known as VUI-21-APR in Leicester.
“PHE has already been in touch with the people concerned and some of their contacts.
“Since then we have been working closely with PHE to ensure that all close contacts of those affected are identified and advised to self-isolate for 10 days.
“Targeted testing is also taking place in a city school as a precautionary measure.”
He continued: “There is currently no evidence that this variant causes more severe illness or increased risk of mortality. Our advice to everyone remains the same.
“The best way to stop the spread of the virus is to keep washing or sanitising your hands, wear a face covering in public places, stay apart from those you don’t live with, and abide by the restrictions in place.
“Regardless of whether you have travelled recently, everyone is encouraged to take up the offer of twice-weekly testing so that we can stop the spread of the virus.”