Health minister for maximum Covid-19 tests in bordering areas

Lula Sharp
May 11, 2021

Experts fear that as the virus continues to spread it will seek ideal conditions and continue to mutate.

The Indian coronavirus variant is unlikely to slow down the UK's release from lockdown because the less unsafe version is predominantly spreading in Britain, experts have said. Prelim data shows that the Indian variant is more contagious.

Dr Susan Hopkins, from Public Health England, said: "The way to limit the spread of all variants is the same and although we are all enjoying slightly more freedom, the virus is still with us".

"The epidemiological features that we see in India today do indicate that it's an extremely rapidly spreading variant", the AFP quoted Swaminathan as saying.

Monday's 366,161 new infections and 3,754 deaths reported by India's health ministry were off a little from recent peaks, taking India's tally to 22.66 million with 246,116 deaths. Death toll has been hovering around the 4,000 mark per day.

"B 1.617 is likely to be a variant of concern because it has some mutations which increase transmission, and which also potentially could make (it) resistant to antibodies that are generated by vaccination or by natural infection", she said.

"There is some available information to suggest increased transmissibility of the B.1.617", Maria Van Kerkove, the WHO's lead on Covid-19, told reporters, also pointing to early studies "suggesting that there is some reduced neutralisation".

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Dr. Robert Schooley, chief of the infectious diseases division at the University of California San Diego, said that the global rate of cases "remains quite volatile".

Authorities in Nepal are not aware of the types of virus variants circulating in the country. Other variants of concern include B.1.1.7, first identified in Britain and now dominant in the United States, and P.1, originally detected in Brazil.

"That's going to be a problem for the whole world".

Wits University vaccinology expert professor Shabir Madhi said while the country should be cautious, there was not enough evidence yet that indicated that the variant caused a more severe form of the virus.

The number of Covid-19 patients in French intensive care units fell below 5,000 on Sunday, for the first time since late March, according to health ministry data.

She said the Epi team and World Health Organization lab team has been discussing with the World Health Organization virus evolution working group this variant and everything that 'we know about it in terms of transmissibility and any studies that are being done in India as well as in other countries where this virus is circulating. "What is happening in India is already happening in Nepal".

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