UK defends the timing of putting India on ‘red list’

He said those aged over 50 and those considered clinically vulnerable will be able to get a second vaccine dose after eight weeks. He also said the spread of the new variant would not affect the scheduled easing of lockdown in England from May 17…reports Asian Lite News.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has defended the timing of the travel ban on India amid concerns that the coronavirus variant first identified in the subcontinent could likely become the dominant variant in Britain, according to reports.

The health secretary told Sky News that variant B.1.617.2 was notified as a variant under investigation after the government had already put India on the travel “red list”.

“The decision to put India on the red list was taken because of the high positivity rate of people coming from India and looking at the epi-curve in India,” Hancock was quoted as saying.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had earlier announced that the country was planning to accelerate its coronavirus vaccination program for priority groups amid concerns over the spread of the B.1.617.2 variant.

He said those aged over 50 and those considered clinically vulnerable will be able to get a second vaccine dose after eight weeks. He also said the spread of the new variant would not affect the scheduled easing of lockdown in England from May 17.

But the Prime Minister said the variant could cause “serious disruption” to the next stage of lockdown easing on June 21.

Johnson said “at this stage” there are some important unknowns but he believes the variant is “more transmissible” than previous ones, and therefore the race between the vaccination programme and the virus could get tighter.

He said there was “no evidence” to suggest the current vaccines would be less effective against the strain.

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