NHS Dumfries & Galloway

Caution urged as new COVID strain identified in region

A NEW, more transmissible strain of COVID-19 has been identified in Dumfries and Galloway – associated with an outbreak of cases in Wigtownshire.

Caution is being urged due to the fact that this is a more transmissible variant of the virus, and that it has been identified just before an easing of restrictions for Christmas Day.

Valerie White is Interim Director of Public Health in Dumfries and Galloway, and she said: “The presence of the new strain has been identified following further work by Public Health Scotland, who are undertaking additional investigation of cases of coronavirus infection across Scotland

“A further second case of the new strain has been identified in the lower Annandale area.

“This is obviously very concerning news, and comes as we have been closely monitoring the situation nationally with respect to this new B.1.1.7 strain.

“We have learned of the presence of the new strain today, and have acted quickly to make people aware of this discovery.

“Caution had already been advised ahead of the easing of restrictions for Christmas Day tomorrow. We do not want to cause any undue concern, but due to the increased risk of transmission that this strain is understood to pose feel it is important that people are made aware to enable them to factor this information into their arrangements – not just tomorrow but over coming days.

“More information will be provided in due course, as and when it becomes available.”