Cases of the “new variant” of Covid-19 are falling across the UK, according to the country’s health secretary, Matt Hancock, who is assessing additional border measures for the fall.
Britons arriving home from “high-risk” countries must undergo a 10-day hotel quarantine at their own expense in a bid to tighten border controls in a bid to curb one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in world.
The UK has the highest number of Covid-19 deaths in Europe, with more than 120,000 victims and remains under severe pandemic restrictions, in part due to a new, more transmissible variant of the first-detected coronavirus in southeast England. Other variants, including those first discovered in South Africa and Brazil, are also spreading around the world.
“In the last week or so, there have been just over a dozen new cases, which are much smaller than we were seeing even a few weeks ago,” Hancock told Sky News on Tuesday morning.
“So the extra measures they were taking at the border were working, and also the lower case rate makes it much less likely that there will be new variants here because new variants tend to increase when you have an area that has a very high rate of issues and the virus trying to get rid of immunity is becoming natural, “he added.
Asked how governments plan to ease the blockade in England, published on Monday, would affect the spread of the South African and Brazilian variants, Hancock replied: “Well, the good news is that the number of new variant cases that “Finding it all over the UK has fallen very sharply over the last month.”
“Ongoing work” is needed to understand the effectiveness of vaccines against variants of South Africa and Brazil, he said, and it will affect a government review of international travel restrictions announced yesterday.
Following the interview, Hancock wrote on Twitter that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan to blockade England is “possible only because of the distribution of vaccines”.
“It’s vital that everyone plays their part so that we can get out of this as soon as we can,” he added.
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