It is possible that a new worrying variant of coronavirus is already in the UK though current signs are reassuring, an expert at the Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has said.
Dr Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser of the UKHSA, said scientists are very concerned about the new variant found in South Africa, Botswana, Hong Kong and Israel, though no cases have been detected in the UK.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the UK was “buying time” by adding South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Namibia to its travel red list, adding that the Government was taking a “safety-first approach”.
Passengers arriving into the UK from these countries from 4am on Sunday will be required to book and pay for a Government-approved hotel quarantine for 10 days.
Scientists around the globe are worried about the “horrific” number of mutations on the virus spike protein in the variant, which they fear could make it highly transmissible, more deadly and make vaccines less effective.
Dr Hopkins told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the variant had around “30 different mutations that seem relevant – that’s double what we had in Delta (variant)”.
Read more: ‘Most worrying’ ‘Covid’ variant, known at DavidIcke.com as the ‘Bullshit Variant’ like all the others, ‘could already be in the UK’, expert says with her fingers crossed while reciting 2,000 Hail Marys