‘Worrying’ new Covid variant could already be in the UK, warns health chief

UK Health Security Agency chief medical adviser Dr Susan Hopkins mentioned the new variant was ‘the most worrying we have seen’

Flights from six southern African nations have been suspended over fears of the new variant

A worrying new Covid variant could already be in the UK, a health chief has admitted.

Scientists have up to now solely detected the B.1.1.529 variant in comparatively small numbers in South Africa, Botswana and Hong Kong, however they’re involved by its excessive variety of mutations, which could assist it evade the physique’s immune response and make it extra transmissible.

UK Health Security Agency chief medical adviser Dr Susan Hopkins admitted that the new variant was “the most worrying we have seen”.

Asked if it could already be in Britain, she told the BBC : “It’s always possible.”

But she added: “We have no cases identified whatsoever yet.”

Flights to the UK are being suspended from six southern African countries – South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Eswatini – to prevent the spread of the new variant.

Dr Susan Hopkins branded the new variant the ‘most worrying we’ve got seen’



From 4am on Sunday all travellers from these locations should spend 10 days in quarantine accommodations.

British health officers are scrambling to hint anybody who has returned from these nations in latest days to see if they’re carrying the new pressure, which is predicted to be named ‘Nu’.

Dr Hopkins mentioned transmission rate of the new variant was “really quite high”.

The R rate in Gauteng, the place the new variant was discovered in South Africa, is round 2 – which increased than its been in the UK since the begin of the pandemic, she mentioned.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps warned: “It is inevitable, of course, that it will go all around the world if it is going to do so.

“This doesn’t prevent it from coming here but it gives us a chance to grow the cultures and test those questions about vaccines and treatments against it.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps mentioned the UK was taking a ‘security first method’


Bloomberg through Getty Images)

He feared the new variant could “defeat the vaccine” however insisted that ministers acted “extremely fast” to make sure a “safety-first approach” to journey modifications following an emergency meeting with chief medical officers.

“This is agreed across all of the United Kingdom and we have acted fast, it’s rather like the mink variant from Denmark last year, where we acted very quickly, within hours and we’re then able, once we’ve checked it out, to release things somewhat,” said Mr Shapps.

“I hope that is what that is, a pause somewhat than going backwards, however we won’t take dangers once we see a variant which could effectively defeat the vaccine, or not less than that is the concern and we’d like only a little bit of time to examine that out.”

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