They believe that attempting to stop the variants through lockdowns and border controls is akin to ‘King Canute trying to hold back the tide’. It came after an Indian “double mutation” was identified in Britain. This follows the detection of the South African strain, which has led to an increase in testing in some areas.
Last week, Public Health England detected 73 cases of the Indian mutation, which “would almost certainly play a role in the very acute peak of the epidemic in India”.
But Professor Hugh Pennington, a leading public health expert at the University of Aberdeen, said it was important to keep track of changes in the virus, but the public didn’t need to know about them as their meaning was still so uncertain.
He said using modeling or lab studies to look at mutations did not show how the different strains played out in the real world and that they could be affected by the environment, the individual’s immune system. ‘a person and people’s behavior.
Professor Pennington said: “These are used as a useful stick to hit the audience over the head and get them to behave under the fear of the project. But just as the vaccine rollout has been more successful than we thought, we also have a top-notch surveillance system to screen for new variants. “
His comments were echoed by Professor François Balloux, director of the Institute of Genetics at University College London, who said last week that stories of fear of variants were getting “a little ridiculous”.
And Professor Robert Dingwall, a sociologist of public health at Nottingham Trent University, said: ‘Trying to prevent variants from happening with lockdowns or border controls is like King Canute is trying to hold back the tide. “
India is not on the government’s “red list” for travel, where people who have stayed in these countries in the previous 10 days are denied entry to the UK.
A Downing Street spokesperson said the list was “constantly reviewed”.
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This notice was published: 2021-04-18 10:04:00