New UK Variant Of Coronavirus May Be More Deadly, Boris Johnson Reveals

The UK new variant of coronavirus that helped drive increased infections in December is thought to be more deadly, Boris Johnson has revealed.

The prime minister told a Downing Street briefing: “We’ve been informed today that, in addition to spreading more quickly, it also now appears that there is some evidence that the new variant, the variant that was first identified in London and the south-east, may be associated with a higher degree of mortality.”

Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance revealed that with the original strain of Covid-19, roughly 10 out of every 1,000 men in their 60s who get infected would be expected to die.

With the new variant, this risk would rise to roughly 13 or 14 out of every 1,000.

Vallance however stressed that the data was “currently uncertain”, but conceded “obviously this is a concern”.

Both Johnson and Vallance stressed that current evidence suggests vaccines will work on the new variant, which transmits between 30% to 70% more easily.

The PM said: “All current evidence continues to show that both the vaccines we’re currently using remain effective both against the old variant and this new variant.”

Vallance said the Brazilian and South African coronavirus variants are of more concern than the UK strain because there are fears they may be less susceptible to vaccines.

Public Health England has estimated that 44 people in the UK have the South African variant, with a maximum estimate of 71 people being infected with it, he added.

Prime minister Boris Johnson during a media briefing in Downing Street
Prime minister Boris Johnson during a media briefing in Downing Street

The chief scientific adviser said: “We know less about how much more transmissible they are.

“We are more concerned that they have certain features that they might be less susceptible to vaccines.”

Johnson defended the current restrictions, insisting they are “the right package of measures to deal with the new variant” and stressing public compliance with them is “the crucial thing”.

The PM also pointed to falling new case numbers as evidence the lockdown was...

Continue reading on HuffPost