PM REFUSES TO RULE OUT SOUTH AFRICA VARIANT DELAYING LOCKDOWN RELAXATION
The Prime Minister, speaking during a visit to a coronavirus test manufacturer in Derby, did not rule out the possibility of the South African strain delaying the relaxation of lockdown restrictions, but insisted he has “no doubt that vaccines generally are going to offer a way out”.
Experts warned on Monday it is “very possible” the strain is already quite widespread in the UK, after a study of about 2,000 people suggested the Oxford jab only offers minimal protection against mild disease of the South Africa variant.
The study, due to the young age of participants, could not conclude whether the vaccine worked against severe disease.
Some 147 cases of the South African variant have so far been identified in the UK, with experts warning these are likely to be the “tip of the iceberg” due to the fact they are the result of random checks on 5% to 10% of all positive tests.