UK

‘Possible’ putting India on red list earlier might have prevented impending lockdown delay – minister

It is “possible” that putting India on the red list earlier might have prevented the widely anticipated delay to easing England’s coronavirus lockdown that is set to be announced later, a minister has said.

Boris Johnson is preparing to announce a delay of four weeks to step four of the country’s roadmap out of COVID-19 restrictions because of the spread of the Delta variant first identified in India.

Live COVID updates from the UK and around the world

The variant now makes up more than 90% of cases in England and is estimated by Public Health England (PHE) to be 64% more transmissible than the Alpha (Kent) variant indoors.

The government has been criticised for putting India on the travel red list on 23 April – two weeks after neighbouring Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Asked if quicker action could have prevented the current situation, health minister Edward Argar told Sky News that such a suggestion was a “hypothetical” and “we don’t know is the short answer”.

“I don’t think that would have necessarily stopped the variant coming,” he insisted.

More on Covid-19

But pressed again, Mr Argar acknowledged: “It’s a hypothetical. It’s possible, but there’s no way of knowing that.”

The minister defended the government’s approach, saying ministers took “swift and decisive action”.

“We have some of the toughest border regimes in the world when it comes to tackling coronavirus and I think we acted swiftly and decisively when that was put on the list of variants of concern,” he said.

Articles You May Like

Protests follow US Supreme Court’s move to overturn abortion protection as clinics begin to close
Two dead and 14 wounded in shooting at Oslo nightclub
Govt forced to hand over £7.6bn last month in record interest payment on public debt
How much money do gas tax holidays actually save drivers? What we know, based on 3 states that put temporary suspensions in place
Avoidable or inevitable recession? Billionaire investor David Rubenstein on what decides it