Dr Hilary Jones has warned that local lockdowns could soon return amid growing concerns over the Indian coronavirus variant.
Bolton currently has the second-highest Covid-19 infection rate in the country and the highest number of cases linked to the Indian variant and scientists are fearing a surge in cases could jeopardise plans to ease lockdown.
‘It is possible,’ Dr Hilary said, in response to whether local lockdowns will come back. ‘What I think we do know is that again, aviation has played a part in this.
‘We think that people traveling back from India before it was on the red list, and traveling via Turkey to avoid direct flights, may have brought this into the country. So again, the aviation industry needs further help in preventing that kind of thing happening.
‘But 727 cases identified, that’s spread really quickly and that’s a worry.’
Dr Hilary Jones has warned local lockdowns could soon make a comeback (Picture: Rex)
The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) is due to hold an emergency meeting today to discuss the spread of the Indian variant amid fears it could impact the Government’s road map out of lockdown.
The Prime Minister said on Wednesday that there is ‘increasing concern’ in the UK about the variant first identified in India.
However, the European Medicines Agency said on Wednesday it was ‘pretty confident’ that vaccines currently in use are effective against the Indian variant – a view echoed by some British scientists.
Professor Paul Elliott, director of Imperial College London’s React programme, cited the Indian variant when asked whether the study’s latest data supported a move into the next stage of easing lockdown restrictions.
He said: ‘It is a difficult question because we have low levels of prevalence in the community, and we’ve got low levels of disease in hospitals and deaths, so that’s good.
‘But I think that the patterns in the Indian variant are cause for some concern.’
He added that further studies are needed to really understand the characteristics and the spread of the Indian variant which appears to be at least as transmissible as the Kent variant.
Good Morning Britain airs weekdays at 6am on ITV.
Credit: Original article published here.