Matt Hancock grilled by Alastair Campbell over COVID-19 inquiry
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“We’ve done this so many times – waited until things got really bad before we realised we should have acted several weeks ago,” said Professor Pagel. “So why don’t we actually act several weeks ago – which is now!”. The Indian Covid variant B.1.617.2 has been growing in numbers here in the UK. According to the Covid genomics UK consortium database – for sequences documented up to May 7 – there have been 1,393 instances of the Indian variant.
However, it must be noted that the database may include duplicates and doesn’t reference if the variants have been linked to travel.
Regardless, the highly transmissible strain has been classified as a variant of concern by Public Health England (PHE).
This is because the Covid mutant appears to be as transmissible as the dominant Kent variant that spread like wildfire before Christmas.
In some parts of the country, such as Bolton in Manchester and Blackburn in Lancashire, the Indian variant accounts for 50 percent of cases said The Guardian.
Professor Pagel pointed out that the presence of the Indian variant is doubling each week.
Leaked documents from PHE (seen by The Guardian) showed that 48 clusters of the variant of concern had been identified across the UK.
These clusters were linked to secondary schools, care homes and religious gatherings.
In this moment in time, it’s unclear whether the Indian variant can reduce vaccine effectiveness.
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Director of the UCL Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care, Andrew Hayward, commented on the matter.
“My main concern is that we do not yet know the extent to which many variants escape either naturally acquired or vaccine-induced immunity.
“For the variants arising in India… we have no real-world data and relatively little laboratory data to assess whether it is likely to evade immunity.”
Professor Martin McKee, based at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, voiced his concerns too.
“There are still many people, especially the young, those in disadvantaged areas, and those from ethnic minorities that are still unvaccinated.
“I am less concerned about meetings out of doors, as the risks there are low.
“But I will personally continue to avoid indoor meetings, such as restaurants, even though I am fully vaccinated.”
With more than 35 million people having had their first dose of the Covid vaccine, there’s hope that the re-opening of the lockdown will be very different from the back-and-forth restrictions set out last year.
The number of second Covid vaccinations are also climbing above 18 million now.
From May 17, people from two households or up to six people can meet indoors at restaurants, bars, and indoor facilities.
Students will no longer need to wear face masks in schools and colleges, but must continue to do twice weekly home testing.
The British people are also able to book a holiday abroad to countries on the green list.
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