SA Covid strain prompts ‘surge testing’ in England

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SA Covid strain prompts ‘surge testing’ in England

UK health secretary promises to ‘come down hard’ on variant after 11 UK cases found with no connection to country of origin

Sebastian Payne, Anna Gross and Clive Cookson

The UK has been forced to confront the spread of the SA variant of coronavirus within the country, as the health secretary pledged on Monday to “come down hard” on the strain.

The news came as the number of people in the UK who had their first jab of a Covid-19 vaccine rose to 9.3 million with another 319,038 first doses delivered. The government also hinted that it may share some of its vaccine supplies with other countries later in the year.

Speaking at a Downing Street press conference, Matt Hancock said the SA variant had been found in 11 people who had not travelled to the country where it was first detected. “There’s currently no evidence to suggest this variant is any more severe. But we need to come down on it hard, and we will,” he said...

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