Published: Sat, April 17, 2021
Economy | By

New contagious virus in India, spreading to other countries

New contagious virus in India, spreading to other countries

North-west England had the highest proportion of people of any region in England likely to test positive for coronavirus in the week to April 10: around one in 260.

The estimated 0.21% of the population that had the coronavirus was the lowest level since the week ending September 24, 2020.

According the Office for National Statistics (ONS), around one in 480 people in private households in England had Covid-19 in the week to April 10 - the lowest figure since the week to September 19 past year.

The latest reported drop in infection levels did not capture the impact of the reopening of pub gardens and shops in England on April 12.

India is now battling a huge surge of COVID, recording the highest overall case numbers in the world.

Infection rates in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have also fallen, ONS data showed.

It comes after a surge of cases in India, as a new wave of the pandemic increased the total cases to nearly 14.5m, second only to the United States, which has reported more than 32m infections.

The discovery of so many cases of the Indian variant in the United Kingdom highlights the flaw in relying on a traffic light system for controlling worldwide spread of potentially unsafe viruses.

Paul Hunter, professor in medicine at the University of East Anglia, said the variant featured two "escape mutations" - E484Q and L452R - that "are causing people to be concerned".

The B.1.617 strain's mutations are feared to make the variant spread faster and partially evade immunity. This variant includes a number of mutations and UK Health services have designated it as a Variant Under Investigation (VUI). World Health Organisation (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said coronavirus rates globally were "worrying".

A global mutation tracker on Friday suggested the "double mutant" coronavirus, first identified in Maharashtra, has a cumulative prevalence of 10 per cent in India, a finding that some scientists here said is based on insufficient data and needs more research.

Among the variants of concern are those first detected in Kent, South Africa, and Brazil. That's because it holds properties that allow it to evade the coronavirus vaccines now on offer, like the South African variant. "They are a worry". Being on the red list means people who have been in those countries in the last 10 days can not enter the UK.

Scientists said the appearance of the "double mutant" strain was a "disaster" and branded the prime minister "crazy" for still considering a trade trip to India later this month.

"We have said that the programme will be slightly shorter than it will have been and you can expect the main body of his programme to take place on Monday April 26".

There have been more than 13.9 million confirmed coronavirus cases in India and 172,000 people have died.

Hopes that South Asia might have beaten the pandemic have been dashed with India seeing over two million new cases this month alone and Bangladesh and Pakistan also imposing shutdowns.

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