“Threat” because French beta variants can evade immune response, British experts warn

The science involved in advising the government that beta variants of the coronavirus spreading in France pose a “threat” to the UK with evidence suggesting that it may circumvent the effects of the vaccine. Warned.

Professor John Edmonds of the London School of Economics and Tropical Medicine and a member of the Emergency Science Advisory Group (Sage), is a variant that led to last-minute changes in travel rules. He said he understood his concerns about.

On Friday evening, vacationers returning from France were announced that they would have to continue quarantine if restrictions on other amber-listed countries were relaxed, even if they were double-jabbed. ..

Ministers said the move was a precautionary measure against concerns about the “permanent existence” of the beta version in the country.

Edmonds told the BBC’s Radio 4 Today program: Probably less infectious than the Delta variants currently prevalent in the UK. Where it has the advantage is that it can better escape the immune response. “

He added: “As the population here becomes more and more immunized, the conditions are in place for the beta to benefit, so we can understand the concerns.

“Of the variants out there and known, it has always been a threat to us. From South Africa, there is some good evidence that the immune response produced by the AstraZeneca vaccine can be avoided more efficiently. There is. “

Oxford / AstraZeneca Jab is one of four approved vaccines given to millions of people in the United Kingdom in recent months.

From Monday, travelers returning to the United Kingdom from all countries on the amber list except France do not need to be quarantined upon arrival if they are double vaccinated or under the age of 18.

The French announcement highlights uncertainty in several areas regarding the lifting of blockade restrictions in the United Kingdom from 19 July.

It also shows another blow to the fate of the travel industry, and industry group Abuta says it is a further setback to expectations for a “meaningful recovery.”

It also occurred just two days after the Spanish holiday islands of Ibiza, Mallorca and Menorca were transferred from green to amber. This means that people over the age of 18 who are not fully vaccinated should be quarantined upon return.

Health Minister Sajid Javid has always made it clear that the government will take swift action at the border to “protect the benefits gained from the success of the vaccination program,” but the Minister of Labor has “confused” the holidays. Was accused of causing.

Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas Symons said:

“They have never made the right strategy. Once again, the travel industry and the British people are paying for it.”

Tom Pilgrim and Gavin Cordon

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