Public Health England (PHE) has launched an investigation as two new Indian variants have been identified.
Cases of the deadly Indian mutant variant have now doubled to over 400 in the last seven days across the UK.
PHE has designated mutant strain as “Variants Under Investigation” instead of “Variants of Concern” such as the South African and Kent strains.
Since last week PHE reported a further 61 cases of the original B.1.617 strain from 193 cases. Also PHE said that five new cases of B.1617.2 from 202 are now “geographically dispersed in England.”
In the last week there have been 8,500 cases of the Kent variant reported in the last week, with a total of 226,635 confirmed cases.
Professor Deenan Pillay, of Virology at University College London has issued a warning that Johnson “needs an asterisk” next to 21 June end date for all restrictions.
He said that once aviation and holidays abroad resume then there can be no guarantee that new variants, especially the deadly Indian strains which are devastating India will not arrive in the UK.
Earlier this month the Prime Minister placed India on the government’s travel red list and all flights are now banned into the UK.
The virologist said, “Although the government started with saying, we want to go for data be guided by data, not dates, to choose June 21, which is Midsummer’s Day, as a symbolic releasing of everything is actually choosing dates not data.”
He warned, “Just imagine, in the same way, there are high rates of infection in India now, there will be other countries which have high rates.
“You look at the world now, globally there are as many infections as ever before going on today as there was before.
“Travel remains a major weakness of this and however much I personally would love to go abroad, you know, I think we’ve just got to make sure the government messages this in the right way.
“Interestingly, over the last couple of weeks, I’ve noticed the change in emphasis from ministers previously being pretty circumspect about travel and saying for instance we should in 2021 we should have staycations etc.
“Over the last couple of weeks I’ve noticed, very clearly, there is a shift towards almost an acceptance that we’re going to be able to go abroad, all the talk about vaccine passports and so forth.
“And I think that shifted expectations to be honest and I think that raises the potential risk.”