New Delhi: As the new strain of the Covid-19 virus is spreading rapidly in the United Kingdom, Dr. Chaand Nagpaul, the Chair of the Council of the British Medical Association on Tuesday said that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s India trip in January may get canceled.
The British PM is scheduled to travel to India in January 2021 as the chief guest for the 71st Republic Day parade in Delhi and to strengthen a key strategic relationship that supports jobs and investment across the UK.
According to a report by NDTV, the senior British doctor stated that it is quite early for Britain’s government to decide on the PM’s visit to India, the trip “may not be possible, particularly if this level of infection and spread continues”.
“Obviously we can’t make a decision today about something five weeks from now… changes to the virus’ reality happen on a day-to-day basis. But one consideration is that the trip to India may not be possible, particularly if this level of infection and spread continues,” Dr. Nagpaul said.
“But if the lockdown in London and other parts (the UK capital and other areas are under extremely stringent Tier 4 restrictions) controls the spread of the virus, they may be,” he said.
“This strain – B.1.1.7 – offers no change in clinical severity or mortality, but is 70 percent more transmissible which makes it’s containing a bigger challenge” he added.
Stating that the occupancy level of hospitals in the country including the non-Covid-19 facilities is at 90 percent, the doctor said that in order to contain the virus, another lockdown is needed.
He stated, “We have a serious problem because hospitals in England are seeing more Covid patients now than in the first wave. Many hospitals are at full capacity – last week 44 ambulances had to be re-directed to remote facilities because there were no beds at local hospitals.”
The new variant of the Covid-19 virus was detected on December 14, in the UK. the new variant has been associated with an increase in R0, which is the number of people that one infected individual transmits the virus to, from 1.1 to 1.5.
However, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), the new variant is not affecting most of the Covid-19 diagnostic tests either, as most of the tests are looking at multiple targets within the genome.
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