Britain labels coronavirus ‘variant of concern’ linked to travel from India | Inquirer News
Close  

Britain labels coronavirus ‘variant of concern’ linked to travel from India

/ 05:50 AM May 08, 2021

Nurses react as they treat a COVID-19 patient in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) at Milton Keynes University Hospital, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, Milton Keynes, Britain, January 20, 2021. REUTERS/Toby Melville

LONDON — British health officials on Friday labeled a coronavirus variant first found in India a “variant of concern” due to evidence it spreads more easily, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying the situation needed careful handling.

Public Health England (PHE) designated variant B.1.617.2, one of three variants identified in India that has spread to Britain, a variant of concern. Surge testing was being carried out in areas where evidence indicates community spread.

ADVERTISEMENT

Cases of the B.1.617.2 variant increased to 520 from 202 over the last week, PHE said, mainly in London and the northwest town of Bolton, with almost half the cases related to contact with a traveler.

“I think we’ve got to be very careful about that,” Johnson told reporters, in reference to the variant.

FEATURED STORIES

“We’re doing a huge amount, obviously, to make sure that when we do find outbreaks of the Indian variant that we do surge testing, that we do door-to-door testing.”

Second wave

PHE cited evidence that it spreads more quickly than the original version of the virus and could spread as quickly as the so-called Kent variant which fueled England’s second wave of infections.

The public health body said other characteristics of the B.1.617.2 variant were still being investigated.

“There is currently insufficient evidence to indicate that any of the variants recently detected in India cause more severe disease or render the vaccines currently deployed any less effective,” PHE said in a statement.

The original India variant, B.1.617, was first detected in October, but PHE has categorized three different subtypes, all with slightly different mutations.

Other variants of concern include variants first identified in Kent, southeast England, as well as South Africa and Brazil.

Two weeks ago, India, which is experiencing a deadly surge in cases, was added to Britain’s travel “red list,” meaning travelers have to quarantine in special hotels.

ADVERTISEMENT

But the move, which came in on April 23, was announced on April 19, giving travelers notice if they wanted to change plans and beat the hotel quarantine.

Britain has recorded 4,428,553 coronavirus cases and 127,583 deaths since the pandemic hit its shores, making it one of the worst-hit countries in the world. About 66 percent of the adult population has now been vaccinated and lockdown restrictions are being eased.

India is reporting record daily death tolls. In total it has recorded 21.49 million cases and 234,083 deaths.

For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .

Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: COVID-19, India, UK, variant B.1.617.2
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.


© Copyright 1997-2021 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.