A second, even more infectious coronavirus variant originating from South Africa has been found in the UK, British health secretary Matt Hancock has announced.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Hancock said that scientists had identified two cases of a new coronavirus variant which he said was even more transmissible than another variant which is currently spreading rapidly through England.
Both cases of the second variant were close contacts of people who had recently returned from South Africa.
“We’ve detected two cases of another new variant of coronavirus here in the UK,” Hancock said.
“This new variant is highly concerning because it is yet more transmissible and it appears to have mutated further than the new variant that has been discovered in the UK,” he added.
It is typical for viruses to mutate, and variants are not necessarily more harmful or deadly.
Those in the UK who have visited the country in the past two weeks must quarantine for two weeks. The UK has also placed immediate restrictions on travel from South Africa.