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UK may be in third wave of Covid: Experts warn govt ahead of ease in restrictions

On May 17, the UK government had eased restrictions, allowing non-essential travel. Twelve “green list” countries had been identified where people from England would be able to travel quarantine-free.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
May 31, 2021 8:17:10 pm
Earlier, scientists and advisers had stated that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson had been slow in banning travel to India, which had led to a rise in the cases. (AP photo for representation)

Experts have warned the UK government that Britain may be in the early stages of the third wave of coronavirus, The Guardian reported, expressing apprehension over the lifting of restrictions on June 21.

According to Martin McKee, a professor of European public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the current measures in place have not stopped the cases from rising rapidly in several parts of the country. “Unless there is a miracle, opening up further in June is a huge risk. The rise in cases we are seeing now should cause a reassessment of the most recent relaxation,” he said, adding that “this looks very much as if we are now early in a third wave.”

On May 17, the UK government had eased restrictions, allowing non-essential travel. Twelve “green list” countries had been identified where people from England would be able to travel quarantine-free.

Professor Ravi Gupta of the University of Cambridge told BBC that at least three quarters of the cases were of the variant identified in India.

Earlier, scientists and advisers had stated that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson had been slow in banning travel to India, which had led to a rise in the cases.

Gupta stated that the wave is slow to emerge due to the number of people who have been vaccinated. Though the number of cases is low at the moment, he warned, all waves start with low numbers and become explosive later. “So the key here is that what we are seeing is the signs of an early wave,” he added, stating, “there may be a false sense of security for some time, and that’s our concern.”

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment, Nadhim Zahawi, exercised caution by announcing that the unlock plans could be “tweaked.” “We have to look at the data and we will share that with the country,” he said, adding that an announcement will be made on June 14.

Zahawi added that the B.1.617.2 was spreading rapidly in some parts of the country while in others “there’s literally no B.1.617.2.”

Professor Gupta spoke in favour of delaying the ease in restrictions, stating that it will “put pressure on the NHS at a time when we are trying to get back to normal.”

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