In line with Boris Johnson, Covid variants might trigger severe disruptions

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a televised press conference at 10 Downing Street on February 22, 2021 in London, England.

Leon Neal | Getty Images News | Getty Images

LONDON – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned on Friday that the variant of the coronavirus, first discovered in India, has the potential to prevent the easing easing currently underway in the country.

The UK is now set to accelerate the second dose of vaccine for those over 50 and clinically at risk due to concerns about the Indian variant.

At a press conference on Friday, Johnson said the variant was more transferable than other variants, but warned that it was not clear by how much. Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer of England, added that there is “confidence” that it is “more transferable” than the stresses already circulating in the country.

Johnson added that there is currently no evidence that the variant would dodge the vaccines that are being used across the country.

Data on the new variant, released Thursday by Public Health England, showed the number of cases across the UK had increased from 520 last week to 1,313 this week, with most cases in North West England and some clusters concentrated in London.

The introduction of vaccines in the UK was one of the fastest in the world. Almost 70% of the adult population received at least one shot. Vaccines are available to anyone over the age of 38, but the government has said they could be made available to younger people in multi-generational households.

The next phase of England’s exit from the lockdown is slated for Monday, when the conviviality, hospitality and indoor entertainment will resume.

– CNBC’s Elliot Smith contributed to this article.

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