Matt Hancock announces India's addition to COVID-19 'red list'
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Travellers returning will have to quarantine for 10 days in supervised airport hotels. But the measure does not start until Friday. Matt Hancock announced the decision to MPs yesterday, hours after Boris Johnson scrapped a trip to New Delhi scheduled for next week. The capital began a week-long lockdown at the weekend – India now has more than 200,000 new Covid cases every day.
The Health Secretary told MPs that the UK had 103 cases of the Indian variant, with the “vast majority” linked to international travel.
The Health Secretary said: “After studying the data and on a precautionary basis we have made the difficult but vital decision to add India to the red list.”
He added: “Between our two countries we have ties of friendship and family. I understand the impact but I hope the House will concur that we must act.”
Mr Johnson had been due to hold talks with Indian premier Narendra Modi on Monday but both governments agreed to postpone until later this year. During a visit to Gloucester yesterday, Mr Johnson said: “Of course it will be frustrating, but we’ll try and replicate as much as we can remotely.”
Dr Jeffrey Barrett, of the Wellcome Sanger Institute, said the Indian variant was unlikely to “generate the most concern”.
But Danny Altmann, immunology professor at Imperial College London, told Good Morning Britain there are vulnerable people who can “still be caught out by variants like this”. It is being analysed but he expects it to become a “variant of concern”.
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