'Absolutely vital' South African Covid variant is contained, health secretary says

Health Secretary Matt Hancock during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (Cov

Health secretary and West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock led the government briefing - Credit: Chris J Ratcliffe/PA

Health secretary and West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock said it is "on all of us" to contain the spread of the South African coronavirus variant.

More than 100 cases of the variant have been identified in the UK so far, with door-to-door testing to take place in eight postcode areas.

Mr Hancock told a government briefing on Monday that the new variant is not believed to be more serious - but said it was "on all of us" to contain new outbreaks.

He said: "It is not straightforward and there may be further cases we don't know about yet and our genomic sequencing is in place to try to spot them.

"The most important thing is that people in the postcode areas outlined need to take extra special precautions.

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"It is absolutely vital that people in those areas minimise all social contact and get a test when the opportunity arises.

"It's a big effort getting this new variant... essentially finding every single case of it, that is the goal."

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