Johnson ‘concerned’ about rising India virus in UK

LONDON (AP) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday expressed concern over the increase in the number of coronavirus in the UK first identified in the UK, and found it more widely in the UK’s closely monitored infection study – loosening lockdown restrictions before the next big one.

“This is a worrying variant, and we are concerned about it,” Johnson said. “We want to make sure we take all the careful steps we can take now, so a meeting was held today to assess exactly what we need to do. There’s a lot we can do, we’re not against anything.”

Johnson’s comments have raised speculation that the government could test the vaccine in areas where the virus is rising and increase vaccinations.

Local authorities in the northwestern city of Blackburn have set up an additional coronavirus vaccination clinic following an increase in new infections. For now, the jab will be awarded to those who qualify according to the rules for age-based rollouts – rollout has been extended to Thursday, and vaccinations are now available to those aged 38 and 39.

Concerns about Indian variation were at the center of Imperial College London’s recent assessment of the UK epidemic. It warned that despite strict lockdowns and successful vaccinations, overall cases had dropped to very low levels since August, but India’s diversity should be closely monitored. The study called REACT found that 7.7% of the 127,000 cases tested between April 15 and May 3 were found to be Indian variants.

Steven Riley, a professor at Imperial College, said it was not clear whether the Indian variant was highly contagious, but warned that “it is dangerous.”

Although the UK government and researchers have said that new infections could start to rise in the coming weeks, it is unclear if this will lead to a major increase in hospitalizations and deaths.

In recent weeks, as India has experienced a catastrophic outbreak of the virus, there has been growing concern around the world about new varieties than vaccines provide.

Across the UK, lockdown restrictions are being lifted. The UK’s next relaxation will take place on Monday, when the two houses can be mixed and pubs and restaurants can cater to customers, among other changes. Other British countries such as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have similar plans for the coming weeks.

The government hopes to remove any remaining restrictions on social interaction in June.

“At this point, Monday and June 21, I can’t see anything that doesn’t stop us from believing we can make progress everywhere, but maybe there are things we need to do internally and we won’t hesitate to work on that. do it.

The government’s scientific advisory body, known as SAGE, will make recommendations on the course of the epidemic. It remains to be seen later.

There is now some indication that earlier aid has led to an increase in the new epidemic by an average of 2,300 per day across the UK, compared to the 70,000 recorded at the peak of the second wave in January.

The drop in infections led to a sharp drop in daily coronavirus-related deaths, with 11 reported on Thursday. However, the UK recorded the highest number of virus-related deaths in Europe with more than 127,600.

Successful release of the vaccine helps keep the lid on the infection by locking. About 54% of the UK population have had at least one dose of the vaccine, and a quarter have received two doses.

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