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Restrictions can’t be ruled out as new variant emerges, expert says



Restrictions may be needed in the Uk in a bid to prevent the spread of the new strain of Covid, an expert has said.

A dangerous new variant of Covid is one of the triggers that the Government previously said could trigger the need for Plan B – which includes advice to work from home and the return of rules on mask wearing.

A new variant has been detected in Africa, prompting six countries to be added to the UK red list.

The variant has twice as many mutations as Delta – the strain currently prevalent in the UK – meaning it could potentially spread faster and evade vaccines.

Professor Adam Finn, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said more needs to be learned about a new variant of the virus which causes Covid-19 to assess the threat it poses, but that new restrictions could not be ruled out.

Prof Finn told ITV’s Good Morning Britain that a jump in cases in South Africa could be linked to the variant’s enhanced transmissibility.

“We now need to wait and see just what kind of threat this new variant may pose,” he said.

“If we’re lucky, it won’t be a serious one, but it could be very serious.”

He said he could not predict if this would affect Christmas.

“On the one hand, I don’t want to induce unnecessary anxiety in people, but on the other hand, I think we all need to be ready for the possibility of a change in the restrictions,” he said.

Prof Finn said sequencing is being carried out around the UK to determine if any cases have already been imported.

“There are a number of things going on now to understand this, to look for it, to trace it, to hopefully stamp it out if it is already here,” he said.





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