BRITAIN may be heading for a third Covid wave as home quarantines “are not working” as cases of the Indian variant continue to rise.
Professor Andrew Hayward, an infectious disease expert and Sage advisior told BBC Breakfast this morning he is “very concerned” about the spread of the B1.617.2 variant.
Asked if the UK is at the start of a third wave of Covid infections, he replied: “I think so.”
Professor Hayward warned the mutation is likely to spread to other parts of the country, adding: “Obviously we’re doing everything we can to contain the spread of that but it’s likely that more generalised measures may start to be needed to control it.”
The Indian B.1617.2 variant has already infected at least 3,000 people since it emerged in mid-April – and is believed to be the dominant strain across 23 areas in the UK, leading to a surge testing blitz.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock told a Downing Street press conference yesterday: “We are seeing the vast majority of cases, both of the existing variant and of the B1617.2 variant, amongst younger groups and unvaccinated people.
“On the one hand hand that is actually a good sign as it implies the vaccine is working effectively, but obviously we don’t want to see a huge increase in the number of cases everywhere.”
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Portugal has announced the new Covid rules for holidaymakers visiting the beach this summer – and rule-breakers face €100 (£86) fines.
Thousands of Brits have flocked to the country this week, with the holiday ban lifted on Monday and Portugal one of the few green list countries.
The new rules, according to local media, now mean that Brits face the steep fines if they don’t wear a face mask while on the beach.
There will also be a traffic light system in place, with sunbathers banned from red areas – also facing fines if breaking the rules.
Beaches with capacity of more than 90 per cent will show a red light, meaning access is not allowed.
DECISION MADE ON JUNE 14 OVER FINAL STAGE OF REMOVING LOCKDOWN RESTRICTIONS
Hancock said a decision about removing the final stage of lockdown restrictions, in light of the India variant, will be made on June 14.
“Every day we’re getting more information,” he said. “We look every day at the data … Until then, it is too early to say.”
Jonathan Van Tam added: “I think scientists are sure that this virus is more transmissible than the strain it is beginning to replace.”
BOLTON’S COVID CASES REACH FOUR-MONTH HIGH
Covid-19 case rates in Bolton have climbed to their highest level for nearly four months, latest figures show.
A total of 920 new cases of coronavirus were recorded in the seven days to May 15 – the equivalent of 319.9 cases per 100,000 people.
This is up from 161.4 the previous week and is the highest since the seven days to January 23.
Bolton continues to have the highest rate of new Covid-19 cases in the UK.
Blackburn with Darwen has the second highest rate, up week-on-week from 96.2 to 145.0, with 217 new cases.
UK LAUNCHES CLINICAL TRIAL ON BOOSTER JABS
Hancock has announced the world’s first clinical trial on booster jabs.
Seven existing vaccines are to be tested in the Cov-Boost trial to see which jabs could be used in any forthcoming autumn vaccination programme.
Some 2,886 people aged 30 and older are being recruited at 18 NHS sites from London to Glasgow, with the first booster jabs administered in early June.
The trial will cost £19.3million, backed by taxpayers’ money.
PRINCE WILLIAM RECEIVES COVID VACCINE
Prince William, who contracted Covid-19 last year, revealed on Thursday he had received his first dose of a coronavirus vaccine.
William, 38, the grandson of Queen Elizabeth and second-in-line to the British throne, revealed on Twitter he had received the shot earlier this week, alongside a picture of the moment he had the injection at London’s Science Museum.
“On Tuesday I received my first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine,” he said. “To all those working on the vaccine rollout – thank you for everything youâve done and continue to do.”
William fell ill with the disease last April, at about the same time as his father, heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles, although he kept the news secret until November.
Media reports said he had not wanted to alarm anyone and he had been hit pretty badly by the virus.
CHINA GIVING VACCINES TO 40 AFRICAN COUNTRIES
China said Thursday it is providing Covid-19 vaccines to nearly 40 African countries, describing its actions as purely altruistic in an apparent intensification of what has been described as “vaccine diplomacy.”
The vaccines were donated or sold at “favorable prices,” Foreign Ministry official Wu Peng told reporters.
Wu compared China’s outreach to the actions of “some countries that have said they have to wait for their own people to finish the vaccination before they could supply the vaccines to foreign countries,” in an apparent dig at the United States.
“We believe that it is, of course, necessary to ensure that the Chinese people get vaccinated as soon as possible, but for other countries in need, we also try our best to provide vaccine help,” said Wu, who is director of the ministry’s Africa department.
COVID DROPS TO NINTH LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH IN ENGLAND
Covid-19 was the ninth leading cause of death in England last month, the lowest ranking since September 2020, new figures show.
A total of 941 deaths were due to coronavirus in April, the equivalent of 2.4% of all deaths registered in England, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The leading cause of death was ischaemic heart diseases (4,144 deaths), followed by dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (4,018 deaths).
Covid-19 was the leading cause of death in England every month from November 2020 to February 2021.
In March it dropped from top spot to third place, before falling to ninth place in last month.
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