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Scientists warn new variants will enter the UK when international travel resumes

by LLB staff reporter
10th May 21 12:10 pm

Scientists who are member of the government scientific advisory group, Sage have warned that the traffic light system has “obvious flaws” and new variants will enter the UK.

Some international travel is to resume from 17 May under Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown, and a new traffic light system will see countries given a status based on their infection levels.

Professor Martin Hibberd, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine told The Observer, “While in the UK, we look forward to less disease and fewer restrictions, this is not the case in most of the world.

“Indeed, for many countries infections are likely to come in waves for at least another year and perhaps longer.

“As a result, imports are likely to become an increasingly important part of new transmissions circulating within the UK.

“We should develop an effective strategy to cope with the competing desires to allow international travel, while keeping circulating virus in the UK to a minimum.

“From my infectious disease perspective, for travel, I would like to see more testing, preferably with professionally taken swabs, and more support for quarantining, at home when it is possible and which can be verified for compliance, together with an effective tracing programme.”

Martin McKee, a professor of European public health at the same university added, “The criterion you should be looking at is not the infection rate and vaccination rate in the host country, but among the people who you’re likely to be mixing with.

“It’s an obvious flaw.

“And if you’re going to be transiting through any airport, you’re going to be mixing with people who are going to be coming from other places.”

On Firday the government announced that travel can resumes to, Portugal including the Azores and Madeira, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, St Helena, Tristan de Cunha and the Ascension Islands.

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