LONDON, KOMPAS.com – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson admitted his government was “concerned” about a variant of the coronavirus that was first identified in India.
The problem is the number of cases of the virus variant has more than doubled in a week in the UK.
The British government’s scientific adviser met Thursday (13/5/2021) to specifically discuss varian Covid-19 India.
The variant, also known as B.1.617, is feared to jeopardize plans to lift all pandemic limits on social contact starting June 21.
Still, Johnson said he remained “optimistic but cautious” about Britain’s plans to lift restrictions.
The government he said “would not rule out any (problems),” which could be dangerous going forward.
“Varian Covid-19 India, which is known as B.1.617.2, appears to have triggered a crippling second wave of Covid-19 in India and has now spread to more than 40 countries, ”according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The WHO declared B.1.617.2 a “worrying variant” this week. Because some evidence suggests it may be more contagious than other types.
The UK has reported more cases of B.1,617 and their sublineages than any other country outside India.
Cases of strain B.1.617.2 have increased to 1,313 from 520 over the past week according to Public Health England (PHE) on Thursday (13/4/2021).
This variant has spread mostly in the northwest and in London. That’s precisely where steps like the British “chase the ball” test, with door-to-door testing and vaccine buses are being deployed.
PHE classifies this Indian variant of Covid-19 as a virus whose transmission rate is “at least like the Kent variant.” The coronavirus variant was the reason for Britain’s third lockdown in January.
In the most affected areas, health authorities said they planned to implement “additional control measures.” Includes rapid testing and tracing in areas where there is increased deployment.
“We need to act collectively and responsibly. (Meaning) to ensure that variants do not impact the progress we are all making, to lower the Covid-19 rate and return to ‘free’,” Dr. Susan Hopkins, Director of Covid-19 Strategic Response at PHE, launched CNN.
Britain is entering phase two of its plan to lift pandemic restrictions on Monday (17/05/2021). At this point, the indoor dining area will reopen.
“Right now there is a very broad scientific opinion about what could happen. But we want to make sure we take all the careful steps we can,” Johnson said.
“There are a lot of things we can do, we don’t rule anything out.”
“You will hear a lot more before the end of the month, about what the world will really be like from June 21,” promised the British prime minister.
He admitted that he was optimistic that everything could return, much closer to the expected normality. The condition is that the origin of this Indian variant, B.1.617.2, cannot be separated again as some people fear.
UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said the government was awaiting a decision “based on data and evidence,” provided by the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (SAGE).
“The Prime Minister, the Health Secretary has always explained that easing restrictions, allowing us to return to normal will be done at a speed, and in a safe manner. We will always be driven by data,” he told Sky News Thursday morning (13/5/2021).