Coronavirus variant first detected in India found in the UK

Boris Johnson and Narendra Modi in Biarritz France in 2019

Boris Johnson and Narendra Modi in Biarritz France in 2019

The health agency said it was monitoring the situation closely.

The variant B.1.617 which first appeared in India on December 7, 2020, according to the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG), has two specific mutations - E484Q and L452R - that have been detected in more contagious variants worldwide, said Maria Van Kerkhove, the COVID-19 Technical Lead at World Health Organization, at a press conference here. Seventy-seven cases of a really nasty India variant that affects younger people already here?

Among the variants of concern are those first detected in Kent, South Africa, and Brazil. "It is frankly insane that Bangladesh and Pakistan are on the United Kingdom travel red list countries but India is not".

The PM had already scaled down his trip due to India's rising number of cases.

But NHS data revealed just half of staff at care homes for older adults have been vaccinated in the borough of Lambeth, the lowest uptake among all local authorities across England.

The strain was classed as a "variant under investigation" but this could progress to "variant of concern" if evidence shows it is more infectious, more deadly or more resistant to vaccines than previous mutations.

Officials said there is now no evidence to suggest that disease from the newly identified variant is more serious than previous ones, nor is there current evidence to suggest vaccines are less likely to work against it.

Paul Hunter, professor in medicine at the University of East Anglia, said it features two mutations - E484Q and L452R - which "are causing people to be concerned".

Labour said the blame for the Indian mutation making its way into Britain "rests squarely with the UK Government".

Coronavirus – Mon Apr 12 2021
Downing Street has insisted the Prime Minister’s trip to India will still go ahead

He added: "Basically, applying what we know about other human coronaviruses would suggest that this is going to be even less controlled by vaccine".

"We don't yet know whether further mutations would make current vaccines useless, this is unlikely".

In India, Covid-19 rates are soaring, with more than 13.9 million confirmed cases and 172,000 deaths.

It also led to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson deciding to shorten the length of his India visit later this month, with the bulk of the events now expected to be limited to a day-long packed schedule on April 26.

Despite the warnings, Downing Street has said Boris Johnson's trip to India "is still happening later this month". The British Prime Minister was due to spend four days there at the end of the month, but a Number 10 spokesman said most of the meetings would be fitted into one day.

A No10 spokesman confirmed that he will still travel to India in late April although the trip will be shorter than it usually would.

The country is not now on the Government's "red list" of travel ban nations, which sees people who have been in those countries in the previous 10 days refused entry to the UK.

Geneva, April 16: The head of the World Health Organisation said coronavirus cases are continuing to rise globally at "worrying" rates and noted that the number of new cases confirmed per week has almost doubled during the past two months.

"We keep it under constant review and we won't hesitate to introduce tougher restrictions and add countries if we think it is necessary".

Prince Philip's funeral guest list confirmed
Several of the Queen's cousins have been invited but without their spouses, including the Dukes of Kent and Gloucester. There will also be three members of Philip's German family , Prince Phillipp, Prince Donatus and Prince Bernhard.

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