India Covid mutation will ‘get everywhere’ warns expert ahead of Sage meeting

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An expert has warned the infectious Indian strain of coronavirus will “get everywhere”, with cases set to soar.

Government minister James Cleverly has already warned that the end of lockdown could be delayed beyond June 21 in a bid to contain it.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies [Sage] will also hold an urgent meeting to discuss its spread on Thursday, May 13.

Professor James Naismith, from the University of Oxford, believes cases will be picked up across the UK.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think we should view it as a country-wide problem.

“It will get everywhere. We keep learning this lesson, but we know that this will be the case.”

He also argued against local restrictions, after Environment Secretary George Eustace suggested they could be implemented to quash infection rates.

Prof Naismith added: “When we tried locally having different restrictions in different regions that didn’t really make any difference.

“So I don’t think thinking about a localised strategy for containment will really work.”

According toi news,new cases of the Indian variant may have tripled in a week to approximately 1,500.

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Professor Tom Wenseleers, a biologist and biostatistician from KU Leuven University in Belgium, analysed the strain and compared it to the other mutation which led to skyrocketing infection rates in Kent.

He tweeted: “The Indian data estimates that B.1.617.2 has a 10% per day growth (advantage) over B.1.1.7 (translates to a ~60% transmission advantage).”

University College London mathematician Professor Christina Pagel earlier said the Indian strain could be “outcompeting” the Kent variant.

The mutation has led to a deadly wave second wave in India, which originally began in February.

Deaths grew by a record 4,205 while infections rose by 348,421 in the 24 hours to Wednesday, May 12, taking the tally past 23 million, health ministry data showed.

Experts believe the actual numbers could be five to 10 times higher.

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Funeral pyres have been lit in city parking lots, and bodies have washed up on the banks of the holy river Ganges, immersed by relatives whose villages were stripped bare of the wood needed for cremations.

Lacking beds, drugs and oxygen, many hospitals in the country have been forced to turn away droves of patients.

The country now accounts for half of COVID-19 cases and 30% of deaths worldwide, the World Health Organisation said.

  • Coronavirus

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