Covid: UK to close all travel corridors from Monday

16 Janvier, 2021, 19:29 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
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Scientists have said there is no indication the United Kingdom variant reacts any differently to coronavirus vaccines.

Professor John Edmunds, a member of the Government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said he would find it "unusual" if the second of two new variants from Brazil was not already present, despite it not yet being detected.

The first variant has a small number of mutations and eight genomically confirmed cases of this variant have been identified in the UK.

The second, which has been detected in Manaus and in travellers arriving in Japan - and is thought to be more infectious - has not been detected in the United Kingdom so far.

The Government banned flights from South America, Portugal and Cape Verde on Thursday in response to the emergence of the new variant, having previously banned travel from South Africa because of a new Covid strain.

In addition, all quarantine-free travel into the United Kingdom will be suspended on Monday in a bid to keep out other variants.

The latest official figures showed a further 1,248 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 in the United Kingdom as of Thursday.

"For the Brazilian one ..."

Dr Mike Tildesley, an epidemiologist who advises the Government on its scientific pandemic influenza group on modelling group, said the United Kingdom was late in imposing the travel ban but that it should minimise the risk from the "more transmissible" variant.

Labour accused the Government of "closing the door after the horse has bolted", saying the announcement was too late to have stopped the arrival of "worrying" strains.

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He told Today: "As we look forward through 2021, we're going to see lots of new variants and we're going to have to get used to that".

But aviation minister Robert Courts insisted that the new action amounted to "toughening up already tough requirements".

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he is "not aware" of any cases of the Brazilian coronavirus variant in the United Kingdom as travellers from across South America were banned from entry.

Meanwhile, the latest figures showed the number of people across the United Kingdom to have received the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine has passed 2.9 million.

The UK is ramping up its mass vaccination program as the government seeks to protect the country's oldest and most vulnerable residents before easing a third national lockdown.

"If we relaxed our restrictions we would immediately put the NHS under enormous pressure again".

Boris Johnson said the new rules would be in place until at least 15 February.

Cambridge University researchers said the reproduction rate of the virus - known as R - is below 1 in the East of England, London, the South East, West Midlands and Yorkshire and the Humber, meaning the number of cases should be shrinking.

Elsewhere in the United Kingdom, toughened lockdown restrictions have come into force in Scotland - with new rules on takeaway food and drink, and the end of non-essential click-and-collect services.

In Wales, First Minister Mark Drakeford announced new measures for supermarkets due to "significant evidence" that coronavirus is spreading among customers and staff.

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