British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday that vaccination protocols will be changed to quickly provide second doses to people over the age of 50 to combat the spread of the Coronavirus that was first discovered in India, a warning sign for countries afflicted by the Coronavirus. Restrictions eased even though their vaccination campaigns were incomplete.
“We think this variable is more transferable than before,” Johnson said. He said what remained unclear to what extent. Infection of the type that was first detected in India is still the subject of extensive study, and some prominent experts have said it is too early to assess its transmissibility.
If it proves more portable, he said, we face some hard choices. He added that there was no evidence that the variant was more likely to cause serious illness and death, and there was no evidence to indicate that vaccines were less effective against the alternative in preventing serious disease and death.
And while he said the country would not delay plans to ease restrictions on Monday, he warned that the spread of the alternative could force the government to change course.
“This new alternative could seriously disrupt our progress,” he said at a press conference on Friday.
The number of cases involving the variant, known as B.1.617, increased from 520 last week to 1,313 this week in Britain, according to Official statistics.
The global prevalence of the variant is unclear, as most countries lack the genetic monitoring capabilities used in England.
This monitoring ability has allowed health officials in Britain to detect the emergence of relevant variants more quickly than in other countries, providing an early warning system of sorts where the variant that appears in one country almost always appears in others.
Most of the cases detected in Britain are in the northwest of England. The focus was on Bolton, a town of nearly 200,000 that has one of the highest infection rates in the country and where health officials have warned of widespread transmission of the B.1.617 variant in the community. Some cases have also been reported in London. The rapid spread of the variant prompted officials to discuss speeding up dosing schedules and opening up access to shots at hotspots for younger age groups.
National restrictions are set to be eased in England on Monday, with indoor dining and entertainment returning, before a full reopening in June. But officials warned that those plans could be in jeopardy.
In Scotland, Prime Minister Nicolas Sturgeon said on Friday that plans to ease restrictions in Glasgow would be delayed by at least a week due to concern about a slight increase in cases that officials said could be driven by the variable.
Not much is known about the new alternativeBut scientists fear it may have triggered a spike in cases in India and could trigger outbreaks in neighboring countries.
Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, Technical Head of Coronavirus Response at the World Health Organization, said that a study conducted on a limited number of patients, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, indicated that antibodies from vaccines or infection with other variants It may not be completely effective against B.1.617. The agency said, however, that vaccines are likely to remain potent enough to provide protection from serious disease and death.
British officials said the variant appears to be more contagious than the B.1.1.7 variant, which was discovered last year in Kent, southeast London and swept Britain in the winter, pushing the country into one of the longest-running national lockdowns in the world. . The B.1.1.7 variant is now found in countries around the world.
In the United States, variant B.1.1.7 has become the dominant version of the virus, and it now accounts for nearly three-quarters of all cases. But the US troop build-up experts feared it would end up being a mere sneak peek across much of the country. The total number of daily new cases nationwide began to decline in April, and is now down by more than 85 percent from the dreaded highs in January.
Variant B.1.617 was found in virus samples from 44 countries and was identified Kind of anxious From the World Health Organization this week, Which means there is some evidence It can have an impact on a diagnosis, treatment, or vaccinations and needs to be closely monitored.
Christina Bagel, a member of a group of scientists advising the government, known as SAGE, said delaying the reopening next week would avoid “risking more uncertainty, more devastating lockdowns, and a longer recovery from a worse situation.”
“We need to learn from past experiences,” said Dr. Bajel, Director of the Clinical Operational Research Unit at University College London, He said on Twitter.
Britain briefly reopened its economy at the end of last year, surprisingly imposing new restrictions that had been in place for months as it grappled with a deadly wave of infections.
In an effort to provide at least partial protection to as many people as possible as quickly as possible, injections separated doses of the two-stage coronavirus vaccines up to 12 weeks after the first vaccines were approved in December. That was much longer than the three or four week period most other countries use.
Mr Johnson said those over the age of 50 will now be able to get second doses after eight weeks.
“It’s more important than ever that people get extra protection for a second dose,” he said.
The rapid launch has saved at least 11,700 people and prevented 33,000 people from becoming seriously ill in England, according to research published by Public Health England on Friday.
Across Britain, injuries, serious illnesses and deaths are declining. Only 17 deaths were reported on Friday.
But the vaccination campaign has slowed since last month due to lack of supplies and the need to start distributing second doses. The number of first daily doses on average last month was 113,000, which is well below the average of 350,000 daily doses given in March.
Only those over the age of 38 are currently eligible for vaccination.
It remains unclear whether the country has vaccine supplies on hand to move more quickly in communities across the country to speed up vaccination for younger age groups.