UK must be wary of South Africa variant as third wave hits Europe, Neil Ferguson says


The UK must be wary of the South African coronavirus variant as some European countries are hit by a third wave of Covid-19, a senior scientific adviser has warned.

Professor Neil Ferguson, from Imperial College London, said a group of European countries are seeing increasing levels of cases, albeit driven by the Kent variant.

“Perhaps more concern for the UK though is that some countries are notably seeing a significant fraction, 5-10 per cent of cases, of the South African variant,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“When infection levels go up in France, 30,000 cases a day, that implies there’s at least 1,500-2,000 cases a day of the South African variant.

“That is the variant we really do want to keep out of the UK.”

A case of the South African variant was identified in the Sandwell area of the West Midlands earlier this week, with surge testing employed in the area to help prevent its spread.


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