UK Seeks Missing Patient With Brazilian COVID Variant as PM Defends Border Measures

March 1, 2021 Updated: March 1, 2021

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has defended England’s COVID-19 border measures after the government revealed that it could not identify a person who had tested positive for the Brazilian variant of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

Authorities said on Sunday that six cases of the Brazilian variant had been found in the UK, three in England and three in Scotland. But one of the three infected people in England has so far not been identified, as they did not complete their test registration card.

The government has launched an appeal for the person to come forward.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock wrote on Twitter: “If you had a COVID test on the 12th or 13th of Feb & didn’t get your result, please call 119 in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, or 0300 303 2713 in Scotland.”

Facing criticism from the opposition, Johnson said: “We’ve got one of the toughest border regimes anywhere in the world for stopping people coming in to this country who may have variants of concern.”

“If you look at what we’ve done in the case of the South African variant, massive effort went in there. The same is going on now to contain any spread of the Brazilian variant,” he said on Monday during a visit to a school in Stoke-on-Trent.

“We have no reason not to think that our vaccines are effective against these variants of concern at the present time,” he said, adding that Public Health England said the risk to the wider community is considered low.

The main opposition Labour Party has called for “urgent answers” from the government on “what risk the British public has been placed under as a result of the failed quarantine system.”

“People will be appalled to hear someone with the Brazilian variant cannot be identified, raising questions about how many others may have been missed by quarantine measures,” said Nick Thomas Symonds, Labour’s shadow home secretary.

“There is no excuse for continuing to ignore Labour’s call for a comprehensive hotel quarantine system,” he said on Monday in a letter to Home Secretary Priti Patel.

Under England’s quarantine rules, people arriving from 33 countries on the UK’s “red list”, including southern Africa, South America, Portugal and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), must quarantine at designated facilities managed by the government. But Labour has called for all international passengers arriving in England to be put into hotel quarantine.

In Scotland, the devolved administration is enforcing stricter measures than in England, requiring travellers from all countries except Ireland to quarantine in hotels.