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Mps Warn That The Uk Government Is Opening The Floodgates To Covid Variations

After finding a substantial fall in the proportion of positive tests veing assessed for variants among those arriving from red list nations, a cross-party group of MPs has warned that the government is “opening the floodgates” to new forms of Covid.
The House of Commons library analyzed NHS test and trace data after being commissioned by Layla Moran, chair of the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on coronavirus.
According to the findings, there were an estimated 1,769 to 1,827 positive tests from people entering the UK from red list countries in the three weeks leading up to March 17th, of which 63% to 68% were sequenced to determine the variation implicated.
In the three weeks leading up to June 30, there were an estimated 445 to 507 positive tests from people entering the UK from red-list countries, with estimates ranging from 12% to 33% of those sequenced.
“These data are genuinely startling, and they call into question the UK government’s claim to be a global leader across genome sequencing,” Moran said, adding that the increase in the Beta variant in Europe should “send alarm bells ringing in government.”
“Instead, ministers are removing our viral defenses and allowing new varieties to flood the market,” she stated.
The Beta form was originally discovered in South Africa, and it was later discovered in the United Kingdom, but it did not spread.
Concerns about an increase in the variation in France and its territories caused the UK government to decide that even fully vaccinated people entering England from France would be subjected to a 10-day quarantine.
The APPG’s investigation also indicated that the number of positive test results from people entering the UK from countries on the Amber List had decreased over the same time period.
There were an estimated 1,641 to 1,767 positive tests from people entering the UK from amber list countries in the three weeks leading up to March 17th, with between 57% and 71% of these being sequenced.
Yet, whereas the number of sequences was between 1,388 and 1,536 in the three weeks leading up to June 30, only between 3% to 20% were sequenced.
“It appears that crucial lessons from the inability to prevent the Delta variety from taking root in the UK have yet to be learned,” Moran said.
“Before more deadly Covid variants slip through the net, the government must promptly address this issue and step up the sequencing of test results,” said Prof Francois Balloux, director of the UCL Genetics Institute, who added that sequencing of positive tests, particularly those from arriving visitors, was an vital tool for monitoring the viral population’s evolution and flagging probable new variants.
“As a result, I have to say that I’m a little startled – assuming those statistics are right – by the comparatively low proportion of positive cases in arriving travelers who were sequenced in June,” he said.
Prof Ravi Gupta of the University of Cambridge, a co-opted member of the government’s New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag), said that the drop was not a cause for concern given the UK’s current position.
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Optional Share with the Guardian Terms and conditions “Ideally, imported illnesses would be sequenced,” he told the Guardian.
“Given the current context of transmission of the immunological evasive and highly infectious Delta variety, it is unlikely that a new variant would threaten to overtake Delta in the near months,” he said.
“Our first priority has always been public safety, and our vaccine campaign and tough border regime are working together to reduce the risk of new strains entering the UK,” they stated.
“We are looking at the content of this report and taking all concerns about our approach to defending the UK against variants extremely seriously.”

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