North Yorkshire health bosses have confirmed that the first cases of the South African variant of Covid-19 have been found in North Yorkshire.

Two cases of the variant have been reported in Scarborough and have been linked to international travel.

However North Yorkshire’s Director of Public Health Louise Wallace said there is ‘not considered to be any community risk’ and that those affected are following government guidance around self-isolation.

Ms Wallace said:

“The people involved have done all of the right things since returning home from abroad and self-isolated in line with the guidance. As such, there is NOT considered to be any community risk associated with them and we will NOT therefore be sharing any additional information about them.

“At this time, we are not aware of any community cases of the South African Variant of Covid-19 in North Yorkshire. It is however, the case that there are a number of variants of the virus in circulation at any time – by their nature viruses evolve and so it is absolutely vital that everyone continues to stick to the national lockdown rules.”

The South African variant of Covid-19 is considered to be more contagious than previous strains, although not more deadly.

However there is fear that the variant is more resistant to vaccinations, resulting in door-to-door testing across the country.

North Yorkshire bosses have assured residents that this form of testing is not necessary for the region.

Ms Wallace added:

“Although the Covid infection rate in the county is falling, it is still very high compared to what it was in the summer and we cannot afford to be complacent.

“With the new transmissible variant everywhere in our county it wouldn’t take much flouting of the rules to send the rate shooting back up again. This costs lives.”

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