The Prime Minister, Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP, has set out over the last few days the concerns of the United Kingdom Government at the spread of the so-called Indian variant of COVID-19.
Given this evolving situation, the Government met this morning with GHA Consultant Microbiologist Dr Nick Cortes in order to obtain his advice on whether or not to continue to test air arrivals from the United Kingdom.
The decision was taken to continue testing arrivals, with a quick lateral flow test, at no charge to the traveller, whilst more information on the effect of the Indian Variant is assessed. No PCR test will be required on arrival.
The UK government’s scientific advisory group for emergencies says there is a “realistic possibility” this new variant could spread 50% faster. There are some higher estimates of 60% from India.
Chief Minister Fabian Picardo this afternoon said: “Anything which is more than 40% more transmissible than the Kent variant could once again unleash issues of resurgences of hospitalisations if the variant is resistant to vaccines.”
There has been anecdotal evidence of two cases of hospitalisation in the United States where the Centre for Disease Control reports the cases appear to have had Pfizer inoculations. One case appears to have been reported in the UK of a post vaccination hospitalisation with the Indian Variant.