Two cases of the Brazilian Covid variant have been discovered at an automotive firm in Warwickshire.
The cases were discovered at LKQ Euro Car Parts in Dordon, North Warwickshire.
Warwickshire County Council said its public health team and Public Health England (PHE) in the West Midlands are working with the company on the wake of the discovery.
The council said there were two “probable cases” of the Covid-19 variant known as VOC-21JAN-02, which was first identified in Brazil.
The two people concerned are self-isolating and close contacts have been identified.
PHE has stressed there is currently no evidence to suggest the Brazilian variant causes more severe illness or increased risk of transmission than any other variant currently circulating in the UK.
It added that as “a variant of concern” it was subject to “close monitoring”.
A mobile testing unit is to be set up on site at the company over the weekend and all staff are being asked to take a PCR test, the test people normally take if they display Covid symptoms.
As an extra precaution staff will be asked to take daily rapid lateral flow tests until they have the result of their PCR test.
What LKQ Euro Car Parts said
Helen Robinson, corporate communications director for LKQ Euro Car Parts, said: “We have worked closely with PHE, local councils and other NHS and government bodies throughout the pandemic to help quickly track and isolate cases when colleagues have tested positive.
“The additional measures we’re taking in Dordon are precautionary but means we’re doing everything we can to help PHE to prevent the spread of this variant.
“Our teams across the UK have been working brilliantly since last March to help keep everyone in our business safe so that we can help keep Britain moving.
“We’ll be giving our colleagues in Dordon our full support with additional testing over the coming weeks.”
What council boss said
“Reassuringly, North Warwickshire’s rate of infection is very low – currently just 9 cases per 100,000 – however we cannot be complacent and will take reports of new variants very seriously, working with PHE colleagues to isolate those cases as quickly as possible.”
What public health chief said
Dr Shade Agboola, director of public health said: “We know that new Covid-19 variants are going to become part of our everyday life.
“But we also know that the more we allow the viruses to circulate, the greater the chance there is that newer more serious variants will develop.
“The VOC-21JAN-02 variant is not more transmissible than our current UK variants and we don’t think at the moment that it causes more serious disease, but it may be less well covered by our vaccines.”
Dr Agboola added: “This is why we need to get on top of it quickly.
“Finally, it is critically important that we all continue to follow the rules and keep our distance, wash our hands, wear face coverings and test regularly – and importantly if we have symptoms – in order to reduce the spread of Covid-19 and other viruses.”
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