Covid-19 infection levels across United Kingdom lowest since autumn

Daniel Fowler
April 17, 2021

Boris Johnson's visit to India will still go ahead later this month despite the country's soaring coronavirus cases and a new variant there, No 10 says.

Public Health England (PHE) reported that 73 cases of the B.1.617 variant, which was first discovered in India, had been found. It has been designated a Variant Under Investigation (VUI).

The largest surge-testing operation in the United Kingdom to date is in place to test more than one million residents for Covid-19.

Worrying stories have emerged about unrelated patients being forced to share beds and bodies lying outside wards at one of India's largest COVID-only facilities as the country struggles to cope with the surge in cases. But, as already announced this week, would be "slightly shorter" than the initial four-day planned trip. Now, a bulk of events will be fit in a packed one-day trip on April 26.

A No 10 spokesman said: "As you would expect, safety is obviously important and is a priority for us on this trip, which is why we will make sure that all elements of the visit are COVID-secure".

(MENAFN - Trend News Agency) Another 2,596 people in Britain have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 4,383,732, according to official figures released Friday, Trend reports citing Xinhua. The Indian variant has evolved independently.

GISAID is a global science initiative and primary source that provides open access to genomic data of influenza viruses and the coronavirus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. The challenge for scientists is to work out which mutations change how the coronavirus behaves.

As yet it is unknown what impact they would have on the effectiveness of the existing vaccines.

"The B.1.617 variant, first detected in Maharashtra, contains mutations from two separate virus variants - E484Q and L452R", the report said.

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Danny Altmann, professor of immunology at Imperial College, said he suspected the Indian mutation would be escalated to a "variant of concern".

The Indian Health Ministry recently also issued an official statement, saying that the variant could increase rates of infection and bypass immune defenses.

The Indian variant was first spotted by scientists in March when it was described by the government in New Delhi as a "double mutant".

"So it's not surprising".

The city of more than 20 million people now has the most daily cases in India and restaurants, malls and gyms were all closed.

It comes as Downing Street insisted that the Government's red list of travel ban countries is "under constant review", when asked why India did not feature on it.

Experts have questioned why India has not yet been added to the red list of countries given the concern over the strain.

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

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