Covid: Boris Johnson's India visit to go ahead despite rise in cases

A woman administers a Covid-testing swab in her mouth

In the latest development, a coronavirus variant with a "double mutation" was detected in Britain after having first emerged in India. "They are a worry".

Though the "double mutant" has drawn attention, and some degree of panic, it is hard to say if it is the most common or abundant variant or even if it is responsible for the raging second Covid wave in India, said Anurag Agrawal, director of the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology in New Delhi, and virologist Upasana Ray. E484Q and L452R are separately found in other coronavirus variants, but they were found together for the first time in India. Seventy-three cases were recorded in England and four in Scotland.

"There is still no clear information on the variant or its effect on the vaccinated and recovered", a ministry statement said.

#WASHINGTON About 5,800 people who have been administered Covid-19 vaccines in America have been infected by the virus, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.

Viruses mutate all the time in a bid to survive. PHE has identified 77 cases of this variant in the United Kingdom and is taking all necessary public health interventions including enhanced contact tracing.

However, the "double mutant" variant first detected in India is still considered as a "variant of interest" by the WHO, meaning that it does not represent causes for stronger public health actions so far.

Some experts are concerned that the new strain could be effective at evading human immune response.

A similar delay happened before testing started to pick up the South Africa variant.

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In the 265 lineages from India, the cumulative prevalence of the B.1.617 variant was 10 per cent, the Scripps researchers found.

These are not thought to be key mutations of any of the other variants on Public Health England's list, but have appeared in virus samples before.

Prof. Paul Hunter, professor in medicine at the University of East Anglia, said the arrival of the India variant was potentially worrying.

World Health Organisation (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said coronavirus cases globally were rising at "worrying" rates and highlighted that the number of new cases confirmed per week had almost doubled during the past two months.

India is not on the red list so there is no requirement for hotel quarantine.

'We keep it under constant review and we won't hesitate to introduce tougher restrictions and add countries if we think it is necessary'.

The Prime Minister had already scaled down his trip to India at the end of April due to the country's worsening coronavirus situation, but Downing Street has insisted it will still go ahead.

It comes after a surge of cases in India, as a new wave of the pandemic increased the total cases to nearly 14.5m, second only to the United States, which has reported more than 32m infections.

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