THE new variant of coronavirus may be associated with ‘a higher degree of mortality’, Boris Johnson has confirmed.
Speaking this evening, Friday, the Prime Minister said that as well as spreading more quickly, there is ‘some evidence’ that the new variant, which first spread in London, is linked to a higher death rate.
Mr Johnson told the Downing Street press conference that this is putting more pressure on the NHS.
He said: “It’s more important than ever that we all remain vigilant in following the rules and that we stay at home, protect the NHS and thereby save lives.
“All current evidence continues to show that both the vaccines we’re currently using remain effective both against the old variant and this new variant.”
Sir Patrick Vallance added that evidence is growing from multiple sources that vaccines will work against this new UK coronavirus strain.
The chief scientific advisor told the Downing Street press conference: “There’s increasing evidence from laboratory studies that the variant in the UK will be susceptible to the vaccines.
“There’s increasing confidence, coupled with a very important clinical observation, that individuals who have been infected previously and have generated antibodies appear to be equally protected against original virus and new variant.”
As of today, 5.4 million people across the UK have received their first dose of the vaccine and over the last 24 hours there have been a record 400,000 vaccinations.
In England, one in 10 of all adults have now received their first dose, including 71 percent of over 80s and two thirds of elderly care home residents.
The Government said a further 1,401 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of today, bringing the UK total to 95,981.
As of 9am, there had been a further 40,261 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK.
It brings the total number of cases in the country to 3,583,907.