11 cases of mutated form of the COVID-19 variant are found in Bristol

Cases of a mutated form of the COVID-19 variant first found in Kent have been detected in Bristol, it has emerged tonight.

Eleven cases have been identified and further investigations are under way to understand if this mutated form of the virus has spread further in the area.

Working with partners in Public Health England and the Department for Health and Social Care, local public health teams will begin to plan for extra testing in the area. Details of how additional testing will be delivered remain under discussion and will be shared once approved.

Christina Gray, Director of Public Health for Bristol, said: “These new cases have been identified following the proactive sequencing work carried out by colleagues in Public Health England. Their early detection of this mutated form of the virus that first appeared in Kent means we can respond swiftly to ramp up testing in the area to better understand the local situation. We’re already working with colleagues in health agencies to identify the additional testing we need and how best to deliver this effectively. When plans are ready it will bee vital that everyone who is asked to take a test does so promptly.

“Whilst this news will raise concerns and bring uncertainty for many, it remains true that everyone must continue to follow national guidance and lockdown rules. We must continue to do the most we can to prevent the transmission of this virus by washing our hands, wearing our masks, avoid mixing socially with people outside of our household and self-isolating when needed. These are the behaviours that will protects us and each other from this virus.

“We will continue to draw up plans for additional local testing and share this information when it is ready. In the meantime I urge everyone to focus on their own behaviours and continue to follow public health guidance.”