EU leaders in Brussels are to delay their decision to reopen their borders to British holidaymakers as the Indian variant is spreading so fast in the UK.
Following the successful vaccine rollout the UK was expected to go on the EU’s “white list” for British holidaymakers, which is now “in doubt.”
The deadly and highly transmissible double mutant Indian variant is now in at least 40% of areas in England.
The more transmissible Indian variant now makes up 19.6% of cases in the UK which has “just got faster” prompting government scientific advisors fearing the country “could be at the start of a third wave.”
The Indian variant known officially as B.167.2 could outpace the vaccine rollout which would overwhelm the NHS.
According to the Sun newspaper, a EU diplomat said the decision on reopening to Brits is now “in doubt.”
The diplomat said, “Now we see the Indian variant spreading and we hear the warning messages from Downing St.
“That has given Member States pause for thought over whether now is the right time to lift the ban.”
‘It makes sense to kick the can down the road, to see the latest numbers and data to assess whether the surge has levelled off,’ the diplomat added.
Professor Jonathan Van-Tam told a Downing Street press conference on Wednesday, “I pitch this personally as a straight race between the transmissibility of this new variant…and vaccine delivery.
“The NHS is doing everything it can to turbo-boost that, and that is the challenge ahead of us in the next two to three to four weeks, to make sure that we outrun the virus through really vigorous pull-through on vaccine delivery.”
The Health Secretary Matt Hancock told MPs on Wednesday the Indian variant of cases has now reached almost 3,000 in the UK.
Andrew Furber, the regional director of PHE in the North West told Sky News, “We are seeing a rapid rise in cases in Bolton and in Blackburn, and we are now seeing a spread further afield to Burnley.
“So we are beginning to see it spread much further throughout the North West.”
Furber said in these areas testing and vaccinations have been “turbo-boosted,” but warned they would have to have people “literally in their thousands” turn up to get the vaccine.
The health chief added, “We do need to learn to live with this virus.
“We will have this virus circulating in the autumn, into the winter, through to the spring next year.”