Scientists warn against lifting lockdown amid 'more deadly' mutant Covid strain breaking news SonDakika-Haberleri.Net
Scientists have warned there can be no early easing of lockdown rules after evidence the mutant coronavirus variant which emerged in the south east of England may be more deadly than the original strain.
Boris Johnson has appealed to people to stay home and follow the rules after he revealed the new variant may be associated with “a higher degree of mortality”.
He said the Government could have to bring in further restrictions on travel following a warning that other new variants found in South Africa and Brazil may be more resistant to the vaccines that have been developed.
At a sombre No 10 news briefing on Friday, the Government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said early evidence suggested the new UK variant could increase mortality by almost a third in men in their 60s.
His warning followed a briefing by scientists on the Government’s New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag) which concluded there was a “realistic possibility” that it was associated with an increased risk of death.
It was already known that the new variant was up to 70% more transmissible than the original – leading to a tightening of restrictions across the UK from late December onwards.
Rowland Kao, professor of veterinary epidemiology and data science at the University of Edinburgh, said the latest findings suggested it was responsible for the “unexpectedly high” numbers of hospital admissions, especially around London.
“While the recent results showing declining case numbers is good news, and suggest that the variant is controllable via existing measures, these results on deaths imply that burden in hospitals will continue to be high requiring a more prolonged period of restrictions,” he said.
Professor Sir Mark Walport, a former government chief scientific adviser and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said even stricter measures may be needed if cases do not continue falling “at pace”.
“Decisions are going to have to be made on the basis of the evidence,” he told BBC news.
“If the evidence shows that the decrease in cases isn’t continuing, then clearly policymakers will have to consider much tougher measures.”
Mr Johnson said the case numbers remained “forbiddingly high” and that it would be a mistake to unlock in England if it were to lead to “another big rebound” in the disease.