Great Britain

Brazil variant: Sage adviser warns ‘we might have to go backwards’ after lockdown opening

A government scientific adviser has warned there is a risk we “might have to go backwards” after the national coronavirus lockdown is eased.

Public Health England (PHE) said on Sunday six cases of the variant, which may spread more rapidly and may not respond as well to existing vaccines, had been found. Three of the cases were identified in England and three in Scotland.

Pressed on how worried he was regarding the detection of the Brazil variant in the UK, professor Medley told the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme:  “Well I think it is a variant of concern and that we are going to be faced with these in the next six months.

“As we move towards relaxing measures then there are going to be challenges on the way. There is always a risk we might have to go backwards  and that’s what no-one wants to do, is actually open up and have to close down again. 

Professor Medley said it was vital the monitor the variants, including sequencing, to know the impact of new variants, and also warned regional variations in prevalence of the virus may pose a bigger risk

His remarks came after the vaccines minister urged people in South Gloucestershire to participate in surge testing as a “precautionary measure”.

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