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Bristol Covid mutation designated as 'Variant of Concern'
9 February 2021, 16:57 | Updated: 9 February 2021, 20:03
A coronavirus mutation first identified in Bristol has been designated a "Variant of Concern" by the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG).
A variant first seen in Liverpool has also been named as a variant "under investigation".
Public Health England has now identified 76 cases of the new variants, and says "with a high degree of confidence" that vaccines will work against them.
Surge testing is being rolled out in areas where the new variants have been identified in an effort to keep any further outbreaks under control.
The areas with this enhanced testing include Worcestershire (WR3), an area in Sefton (PR9), and areas in Bristol, South Gloucestershire and Manchester.
It comes as thousands in Manchester will be tested for coronavirus after a mutation of the more transmissible Kent variant was detected there.
Some 10,000 extra tests will be rolled out in the region from Tuesday, after four people from two unconnected households were found to be infected with the E484K mutation, which is linked to the Kent strain, Manchester City Council said.
This follows similar surges in testing in Worcestershire, Sefton, Merseyside, and areas in Bristol and south Gloucestershire, after variants were found.
Extra testing sites will be set up to enable anyone aged over 16 who lives, works or studies in the affected areas - which includes postcodes in Hulme, Moss Side, Whalley Range and Fallowfield.