Indian variant of Covid-19 threatens UK's roadmap out of lockdown

14 Mai, 2021, 00:04 | Auteur: Adelaide Bullion
  • A healthcare worker prepares Covid vaccines on the Bolton Covid Vaccination bus in the Rumworth area of Bolton

The Government will set up an independent public inquiry with statutory powers into the handling of the coronavirus pandemic, Boris Johnson has said.

"The variant first identified in India is more transmissible than other variants, which means it is easily passed on from one person to another".

The council had earlier provided a statement saying: "The council and NHS partners have secured extra doses of the Covid-19 vaccine that will be made available to anyone in Blackburn with Darwen aged over 18 from next week".

"We want to make sure that we take all the prudential, all the cautious steps now that we could take", he said.

Mr Johnson said the inquiry must be able to look at the events of the previous year "in the cold light of day" and identify the key issues that will make a difference for the future.

Scientists are keeping a close eye on the spread of the Indian variant across the United Kingdom, but there are now no signs that infection is leading to rising hospital admissions, experts have said.

"This national endeavour - above party politics - will remember the loved ones we have lost; honour the heroism of those who saved lives and the courage of frontline workers who kept our country going; celebrate the genius of those who created the vaccines; and commemorate the small acts of kindness and the daily sacrifice of millions who stayed at home, buying time for our scientists to come to our rescue".

Kevin Bridges, who specialises in health and safety law at Pinsent Masons, said: "At the moment only one inquiry has been announced, but it will be interesting to see whether further inquiries will follow to cover other areas such as the awarding of contracts for PPE, the higher death rates within certain parts of the population, or whether these issues will all be considered in one inquiry, or not at all".

"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".

However, Professor James Naismith, from the University of Oxford, said not enough is known about the Indian variant which could frustrate the UK's vaccination programme.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) dubbed B.1.617 a "variant of interest" - a less urgent designation - last week. Surge testing is to start in Nottingham for two weeks after a rise in cases of the Indian variant of Covid .

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Anyone who had been at a location of interest could not travel to New Zealand from Australia within 14 days of exposure. The list of sites will be published when they are confirmed, the department said.

"The vaccines don't 100% prevent infection for people", he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

However, it's worth noting that although the new variant is thought to spread as easily as previous ones, there's no evidence to suggest it causes more serious illness.

There have been a couple of cases of the Indian variant of Covid-19 found in York.

"So even the regular virus can infect people who have been vaccinated and sometimes you do get reinfection".

The government is working closely with local authorities and PHE to deploy additional measures across London to help control the spread of COVID-19 variants and break chains of transmission quickly.

"I think we owe it to the country to have as much transparency as we possibly can and we owe it to the country to produce answers in a reasonable timescale". "So I don't think a localised strategy for containment will really work", he added.

The Labour politician, who was re-elected as mayor earlier this week, asked the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) for permission to vaccinate everyone over 16 in Greater Manchester.

He said studies had been completed for the Pfizer vaccine in teenagers and were continuing for the Moderna jab, but it would depend on whether "there really are cases to be prevented", particularly among schoolchildren.

Mr Burnham said a recent spike in cases in Bolton is linked to global travel, particularly from India, but there is also evidence of community transmission.

Prof Finn also said he was not "particularly concerned" that younger age groups may shun vaccines.

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