One of two coronavirus variants found in Brazil has been detected in the UK, according to a leading scientist and government advisor.

The mutations are thought to make the virus more infectious and Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he is “very concerned” about the variant, adding that extra measures are being put in place to prevent the variant being imported to the UK.

On Thursday, Transport Secretary, Grant Schapps announced South America, Panama, Portugal and Cape Verde will be subject to a travel ban from 4am on Friday January 15 amid concerns over the new variant.

Speaking on Twitter he said: “I’ve taken the urgent decision to BAN ARRIVALS from ARGENTINA, BRAZIL, BOLIVIA, CAPE VERDE, CHILE, COLOMBIA, ECUADOR, FRENCH GUIANA, GUYANA, PANAMA, PARAGUAY, PERU, SURINAME, URUGUAY AND VENEZUELA – from TOMORROW, 15 JAN at 4AM following evidence of a new variant in Brazil.

“Travel from PORTUGAL to the UK will also be suspended given its strong travel links with Brazil – acting as another way to reduce the risk of importing infections. However, there is an exemption for hauliers travelling from Portugal (only), to allow transport of essential goods.

“This measure does not apply to British and Irish Nationals and third country nationals with residence rights – but passengers returning from these destinations must self-isolate for TEN DAYS along with their households”

Safeguarding minister Victoria Atkins said that the Government was keeping coronavirus restrictions under “constant review”.

New Forest Post: Daily confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the UK (PA)Daily confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the UK (PA)

Professor Wendy Barclay, head of G2P-UK National Virology Consortium, a new project set up to study the effects of emerging coronavirus mutations, said one Brazilian variant of coronavirus has been detected in the UK.

She said: “There are two different types of Brazilian variants and one of them has been detected and one of them has not.”

She added: “In the databases, if you search the sequences, you will see that there is some some evidence for variants from around the world, and I believe including the Brazilian one, which probably was introduced some time ago.

“And that will be being traced very carefully.”