Could the Indian mutation be like a Hot Vindaloo of the Covid-19 variants as show cases of B.1.617.2 on the rise has been designated a “variant of concern”
The Indian variants have worried scientists these have either one or two mutations in their spike protein – depending on the variant – that it is thought may help the virus to evade the body’s immune responses.
On Thursday, the Guardian learned from leaked Public Health England documents that 48 clusters of B.1.617.2 had been identified, including those linked to secondary schools, care homes and religious gatherings, with evidence of community transmission in some of the clusters.
PHE commented “We are monitoring all of these variants extremely closely and have taken the decision to classify this as a variant of concern because the indications are that this VOC-21APR-02 is a more transmissible variant,” said Dr Susan Hopkins, Covid-19 strategic response director at PHE, adding that the other two variants first detected in India had not been reclassified but that this would be kept under review.
Cases from the North and to London increased from 202 to 520 over the last week, with about half the cases linked to travel or contact people those have have travelled.
Holidaymakers in England are to find out which “green list” countries they can visit without quarantining on their return later this afternoon.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps will unveil details of new travel rules at a coronavirus briefing at 17:00 BST.
The NHS is revising the booking system for Covid-19 jabs in England after complaints that it could reveal individuals’ vaccination status.
By entering details such as their name, date of birth and postcode it may be possible to work out if another person has been given both doses, one or none.