London ‘could face local lockdowns’ to stop spread of Covid-19 variants

London 'could face local lockdowns' to stop spread of Covid-19 variants

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Following the discovery of cases of the South African variant of Covid-19 in several areas of London, experts have warned that the capital could face a number of local lockdowns if cases continue to rise.
The South African variant is known to spread faster and there are concerns that our current vaccines may not be as effective against them.

In an attempt to contain the spread of the variant, overvoltage tests have been set up in the boroughs where it was detected.

This includes Lambeth, Southwark, Wandsworth, Barnet and Hillingdon.

Professor John Edmunds, an epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said if mass testing failed to contain the spread, “we may need to impose some kind of local restrictions.”

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Covid-19 tests are underway across London
(Image: Warren Little / Getty Images)

Speaking on ITV’s Peston, Professor Edmunds said: “We are doing our best to keep this variant as low as possible.

“It’s really important that we test this testing system, you know the mass testing, as robust as it gets, and hopefully that will be enough to be able to keep the number of cases low.”

Professor Edmunds, who is also part of SAGE, believes that vaccination is the only way to “contain this epidemic more or less permanently” but that it will take “a lot of time”.

Professor Christina Pagel, director of UCL’s clinical operations research unit, says residents of London may face a longer lockdown than others.

She told the Guardian: ‘The South African variant appears to be concentrated in London at the moment and given that, if the government is as concerned about this variant as it claims it is, it would make sense to maintain the restrictions in London for longer. .

Dr Jeffrey Barrett, director of the Covid-19 Genomics Initiative at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, has warned that entire streets of affected areas where the variant spreads could be locked down to contain the virus.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today program, Dr Barrett believes this could be an effective measure against business groups.

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He said: “As the restrictions are lifted, the key thing to watch out for will be, does that number ever go up some kind of week after week, and if it does, it really matters. to deploy the most effective measures possible to contain these epidemics. “

At least 44 cases of the variant have been confirmed in Lambeth and Wandsworth, with another 30 probable cases, and anyone in affected areas is encouraged to get tested.

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