Home / World / Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations on the rise in the UK as variants from India come in

Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations on the rise in the UK as variants from India come in

London—The UK government is speeding up vaccination. As officials estimate three-quarters of the new cases of COVID-19 Domestically, this may be the result of a new coronavirus infection in India.

The number of hospital treatments in the UK has increased. And the number of cases rose 20% in the past week—albeit from a low base—as the variable occurred in different parts of the country, mostly among young people who had not received two doses of the vaccine.

“The latest estimate is more than half and possibly as much as three-quarters of all new cases now,” said UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock. said on Thursday

The spread of this variable threatens to delay the lifting of planned social restrictions next month. and testing first to see if widespread vaccination can pave the way for a return to normal life.

“Obviously the vaccine has had a huge impact,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said this week. “The question is: How big is it? How reliable is vaccine immunization?”

Bolton is the epicenter in England for the spread of the novel coronavirus. which was first found in India


Peter Byrne/Associated Press

Britain’s neighbors were watching nervously. many countries in europe where vaccine launch is not as advanced as in the UK It has imposed restrictions on British visitors trying to stop the variant, known as B.1.617.2, from being contained. France said, as of May 31, travel is only allowed from the UK where it is required. Germany quarantines British tourists for two weeks, Austria bans direct flights from Britain on June 1.

Scientists do not know exactly how contagious the virus from India is compared to earlier versions of the virus. More accurate information is expected to be presented ahead of the government’s decision on whether to lift all remaining Covid-19 restrictions in England on June 21.

The increase in UK cases linked to B.1.617.2 is a test of whether the vaccine can successfully disconnect between infection and hospitalization, despite the presence of the coronavirus mutation. even more aggressive

Adam Finn, who is on the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization, said loosening the rules that allowed people to hang out in pubs and nightclubs would often result in more cases. “The big question mark is how the number of critically ill patients are disconnected,” he said. Adding more transmissible variants to the mix will only increase that uncertainty, he said.

British scientists say that two doses of the vaccine are very effective in preventing such variants. The UK has rapidly vaccinated its population. It focuses on getting the first vaccination as much as possible. So far, 74% of the population has received the first vaccine and 47% received the second. Vaccination driving has reduced the number of COVID-19 cases And that brings the daily death toll associated with the virus to a single figure from more than a thousand a day in January.

But British officials are concerned about B.1.617.2 for two reasons. First, British scientists who advise the government estimate it can be as much as 50 percent more infectious than the predominant B.1.1.7 variant. this page It was first detected in the UK last year and has spread around the world since then.

Second, the single-dose vaccine was less effective at preventing the B.1.617.2 variant than the B.1.1.7 vaccine, according to Public Health England. The efficacy of the vaccine in preventing symptomatic disease after a single dose was reduced by 33% for B.1.617.2 compared to 50% with B.1.1.7. However, after the second dose of B.1.617.2, there was Efficiency increased to 81%.

A vaccination center is set up on a bus ahead of a football game in Liverpool, England, on May 23.


phil noble / Agence France-Presse / Getty Images

The government has rushed to shut down vaccination programs in the hardest-hit area of ​​Bolton, a city in the north-west of England. which has a rapidly increasing number of patients Received an additional 18,000 vaccines in the past few days. According to government data, 70% of Bolton adults received the first dose and 42% the second.

The government has reduced the time between vaccine doses from 12 weeks to eight weeks.

The initial signs are positive, for example in Bolton. Only five of the 49 people in the hospital were infected with COVID-19. Only received two vaccinations.

Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon said on Friday she was delaying the easing of restrictions in Glasgow to curb the spread of the variant from India. But, she added, there are signs that the number of cases in the city is starting to decline. Lockdown policies are independently decided by governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

India’s Covid-19 crisis has brought record numbers of cases and deaths to WSJ, breaking the chain of events leading to the fastest growing wave of infections since the pandemic began. and what it means to the world. Image: Samuel Rajkumar/Reuters

This new format was born out of travelers from India. A country with deep historical connections to the UK patient population has increased rapidly in some regions.

While almost the entire population aged 70 and over received double. But this number has dropped to around 30% for those aged 50-59, according to an analysis by OpenSafely, a platform that analyzes the nation’s health records.

However, officials were encouraged by data showing that people, especially young people, are more eager to vaccinate. All UK adults will be vaccinated at least once by the end of July.

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The increase in the B.1.617.2 variable in the UK proves the government’s fuzziness over the past 18 months. Mr Johnson has suspended several social distancing restrictions to curb the spread of the virus. It then announced a deep lockdown while the virus was out of control. England dies from COVID-19 the most in Europe Mr Johnson said the latest lockdown must be the last.

Recently, the prime minister has warned of a return to normal life announcement. The result may be that some restrictions, such as working from home, are recommended. It will remain in England after June 21, scientists say.

meanwhile Officials and scientists are closely monitoring the data. “We may be very busy. But we’re not sure,” said Prof Finn.

write to Max Colchester at max.colchester@wsj.com

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