Boris Johnson press conference: PM to address nation TODAY as India variant fears erupt

Boris Johnson discusses potential measures for Indian variant

When you subscribe we will use the information you provide to send you these newsletters. Sometimes they’ll include recommendations for other related newsletters or services we offer. Our Privacy Notice explains more about how we use your data, and your rights. You can unsubscribe at any time.

The Prime Minister will address the nation at 5pm alongside the Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty. Cases of the mutant variant have spread rapidly over the past week with cases rising from 520 to 1,313.

The Department of Health and Social Care said most cases are in the North West of England, with some in London.

The variant has been detected in Bolton, Greater Manchester, Blackburn in Lancashire, and Sefton in Merseyside, which have all seen rates rise rapidly.

Public Health England has labelled the mutation a “variant of concern” with the true extent of its impact unknown.

There are concerns it could be more transmissible than the current dominant strain in the UK and could be resistant to vaccines being rolled out across the country.

JUST IN: UK lockdown alert: India variant threatens to derail roadmap

The Government has already announced it is looking to ramp up its coronavirus response in the worst hit areas such as the North West.

Extra doses of vaccines have been sent to areas seeing a surge in cases, with everyone living in multi-generational households from 18-year-olds to grandparents due to be eligible for a jab immediately.

The decision breaking with the age-based priority rollout that has taken place so far.

Bringing forward the date for second doses of vaccine for the elderly and vulnerable in regions where the Indian variant is spreading is also being considered, to give maximum protection as soon as possible.

Mr Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown is dependant on the country meeting four test, now of which includes no new worrying coronavirus variants spreading throughout the country.

While ministers have so far insisted the easing of coronavirus restrictions will go ahead as planned next Monday, they have not ruled out delaying the final step of the roadmap on June 21 when most coronavirus legal restrictions were due to be removed.

DON’T MISS:
Zahawi on the spot as he fails to rule out June 21 reopening delays [WATCH]
Covid variant rise: ‘Surge vaccines’ may be used for Indian strain [INSIGHT]
Ursula von der Leyen’s vaccine crisis down to EU ‘experience’ problems [OPINION]

“The four tests have to be met for June 21,” vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said this morning.

The way we don’t have to do that is by everybody doing their bit, by taking the two tests a week, doing your PCR test in those areas, and to isolate, isolate, isolate.

“We have got to break the cycle of infection, because one of those big tests was infection rates have to be suppressed, and the other big test is variants.

“If those cause a problem, then the tests will fail.”

This morning Paul Hunter, professor in medicine at the University of East Anglia, warned the spread of the Indian variant meant the roadmap was “in doubt”.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “If the epidemic continues to increase, if the Indian variant of the epidemic continues to increase at the same rate as it has over recent weeks, we’re going to have a huge number of cases by June.

“The issue though is that because it seems to be spreading in unvaccinated younger people at the moment and not yet that much more active in older people, maybe we’ll be able to weather it and we’ll still be able to have the step four in June.

“But if that increases cases in elderly and starts to increase hospitalisations, and puts pressure on the NHS again then I think step four would be in doubt.”

Source: Read Full Article