Britain’s “mystery patient” infected with the highly contagious Brazilian variant of the coronavirus has finally been found after a five-day nationwide manhunt.
Two officials confirmed Friday that the patient, who has remained unnamed, had been located, according to the Financial Times.
Health officials warned Sunday that six people in the UK had been infected with the highly transmissible P.1 strain, but one of them failed to provide contact information and could not be located — setting off a frantic search.
By Wednesday, the hunt for “Patient X” had been narrowed to 379 households in the southeast of England, the health secretary said.
Friday’s announcement brings the five-day manhunt to an end after concerning new research found that the P.1 variant is twice as infectious as some other COVID-19 strains — and is able to invade the immune systems of patients who have already been infected with the deadly virus.
In the United States as of Friday, at least 13 cases of the variant — believed to have originated in the Amazonian city of Manaus — have been reported in seven states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
However, preliminary data from an Oxford University study suggests that the AstraZeneca vaccine is effective against the P.1 mutation, Reuters reported Friday.
Brazil currently has the world’s second-highest COVID-19 death toll after the US, with about 261,000 casualties, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.
Still, President Jair Bolsonaro has continuously downplayed the seriousness of the pandemic and mocked social distancing measures — even recently accusing Brazilians of “whining” following two consecutive days of record coronavirus deaths in the country.
“Enough fussing and whining. How much longer will the crying go on?” Bolsonaro asked the crowd at a Thursday event.
“How much longer will you stay at home and close everything? No one can stand it anymore. We regret the deaths, again, but we need a solution.”
With Post wires