Boris Johnson has admitted that he and the government are “concerned” about a new Brazilian variant of the coronavirus found.
On Sunday, the Japanese authorities registered the variant in four travelers from the Brazilian state of Amazonas. They fear that like variants from Great Britain and South Africa, it would spread around the world.
Little is known about the new variant, but the government has announced that it will take steps to ensure it does not get into the UK.
Speaking to Liaison Committee MPs, Boris Johnson said he was “concerned” about the variant, adding, “I think it’s fair to say we still have many questions.”
But he refused to say whether the UK had plans to close its borders with Brazil when it was questioned by the chairman of its health committee, Jeremy Hunt. reports the mirror.
Mr Johnson said, “We already have tough measures in place … to keep this country safe from new infections from abroad.
Home Affairs Selection Board Chair Yvette Cooper slammed Mr. Johnson and asked why it was still possible to get direct flights from Brazil.
Ms. Cooper said the slow response is an example of the UK government’s sloppy approach to quarantine procedures throughout the pandemic.
Mr Johnson insisted that additional measures be taken to prevent the Brazilian variant of coronavirus from being imported into the UK – but did not outline what they were when they were pushed forward.
Ms. Cooper said, “We were warned about the Brazilian variant three days ago. We don’t yet know if it might undermine the vaccination program. So why not take immediate precautionary measures?”
Mr Johnson replied, “Well, it is us and we are taking additional measures to ensure that people from Brazil are controlled and actually stop people from Brazil.”
Ms. Cooper asked, “Are you, this is a new announcement?”
“No, I’m sorry, I said we looked at the question of whether the Brazilian variant is immune or not,” he said.
“We are taking steps to do this in relation to the Brazilian variant.”
Meanwhile, an additional 1,012 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total confirmed deaths reported in hospitals to 57,828, NHS England said on Wednesday.
There were 54 more deaths reported without a positive Covid-19 test result.
Scotland has recorded 79 coronavirus patient deaths and 1,949 new cases in the past 24 hours, according to Nicola Sturgeon.
The death toll from this measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus in the past 28 days – is now 5,102.