The UK is set to be hit with a new strain which is the “most explosive Covid variant yet” with warnings that restrictions could return.
Sequencing data shows that the new Omicron sub-variant is 100% behind Covid cases in many local areas across the UK which has now prompted urgent calls for the return of wearing face masks along with free tests and other restrictions.
Scientists have warned that BA.5 is more infectious than the current Omicron variant but is just as mild. In the week to 16 July there was a total of 82.2% of positive swab tests for the BA.5 version of the Omicron variant.
Many scientists are now calling on the government to reintroduce limiting the numbers of people gathering, face masks and other restrictions which was seen at the start of the pandemic.
Dr Kit Yates, a mathematical biologist at the University of Bath and a member of Independent SAGE has called for the government to reintroduce the previous pandemic restrictions.
On Saturday, Dr Yates said, “Everyone protects everyone else by wearing a mask in shared indoor spaces such as public transport and shops.
“But without government mandates or strong public health messaging, we have seen that most people are not inclined to do this voluntarily.”
Last week the editors of the British Medical Journal (BMJ) and the Health Service Journal (HSJ) accused the government of “gaslighting the public” over the threat of Covid.
Dr Kamran Abbasi (BMJ) and Alastair McLellan (HSJ) warned that restrictions must be brought back immediately to save the NHS.
In a joint editorial, the two Dr’s wrote, “The heart of the problem is the failure to recognise that the pandemic is far from over and that a return to some of the measures taken in the past two years is needed.”