The Indian coronavirus mutation could “thwart” Britain’s march to freedom, a senior scientist warned, although the lockdown and vaccination program caused cases to drop to a seven-month low.
According to the latest figures, Covid-19 infections across the UK fell to their lowest level since the fall.
However, an immunology professor has called for the UK to be on the alert for a third wave after 77 domestic cases of another possible mutation destroying the vaccine were recorded.
Public Health England (PHE) reported that 73 cases of the B.1.617 variant, first discovered in India, were found, while another four cases were identified in Scotland.
Danny Altmann of Imperial College said those coming to the country from India should be subject to hotel quarantine if Britain is to rule out variants that could affect the Prime Minister’s Locking Locking plans.
Despite the warnings, Downing Street has insisted that Boris Johnson’s trip to India continue later this month – his first major international visit since signing a Brexit trade deal with Brussels.
The group advising ministers on vaccine use recommended offering pregnant women a Covid-19 blast at the same time as the rest of the population.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) had previously only recommended offering Covid-19 jabs to pregnant women if their risk of exposure to the virus is high, e.g. B. with health workers or when a woman suffers from health problems.
The development coincided with a continued decline in coronavirus infections across the UK.
According to the latest estimates by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), around one in 480 people in private households in England had Covid-19 in the week leading up to April 10, the lowest level since the week leading up to September 19 last year.
Infection rates in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland followed a similar trend of devaluing the numbers, ONS data showed.
However, the decline in infection rates across the UK was a contrast to rising case rates in other parts of the world.
World Health Organization (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said global coronavirus rates were “worrying” as India recorded more than 217,000 cases a day on Friday, and its total rose past 14.2 million since the pandemic began.
Prof. Altmann said the discovery of the Indian variant in the UK should justify putting India on the UK’s “red list”.
Officials have identified their version as an investigated variant (VUI) rather than a questionable variant (VOC), such as the Manaus (Brazil) or South Africa variants.
However, Prof. Altmann suspected that the Indian mutation would escalate into a worrying variant as it has properties that allow it to dodge the coronavirus vaccines currently on offer, such as the South African variant, and in a manner similar to the communicable version of the California version Covid.
“I think we should be terribly worried about that,” he told the BBC.
“They (worrying variants) are the things that are most killing our escape plan right now and giving us a third wave. You are a concern. “
Prof. Altmann said he found it “mystifying” and “slightly confusing” that those who had traveled from India did not have to stay in a hotel.
The country is not currently on the government’s “Red List” for travel, denying entry to the UK for those who have been in these countries in the past 10 days.
British or Irish nationals, or those with UK residency rights, can return from Red List countries, but will be required to isolate themselves in a quarantine hotel for 10 days.
No. 10 said Mr Johnson’s visit to India “will take place later this month” but, as announced earlier this week, would be “slightly shorter” than the originally planned four-day trip, with most of the meetings expected in one day will take place one year.
A Downing Street spokesman said the government’s red list of travel banned countries was “under constant review” when asked why India was not on the list.
Meanwhile, the JCVI, which is advising ministers in order of priority for introduction, stated that “no specific safety concerns” have been identified regarding pregnancy with “a brand of Covid-19 vaccines”.
The JCVI said data from the US showed that around 90,000 pregnant women had received shocks, mostly Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, “with no safety concerns raised”.
As a result, the committee said it was “preferable” to offer these two vaccines to pregnant women in the UK, when available.