Information launched as we speak by the Authorities for February’s UK arrivals from overseas reveals fewer than half of abroad guests had acquired a 3rd ‘top-up’ Covid jab. It additionally reveals solely 35.9% believed testing was essential – though the UK’s pre-flight testing necessities didn’t finish till March.
A number one testing professional says that the UK’s present Covid technique depends on excessive ranges of antibodies within the inhabitants and that Covid variants with milder signs, akin to newer Omicron BA. 2, stay dominant.
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The tip of obligatory mask-wearing and even free testing means the nation can be ‘caught with its pants down’ if a brand new, extra extreme pressure arrives from abroad, warns Dr Quinton Fivelman PhD, Chief Scientific Officer at London Medical Laboratory,
Says Dr Fivelman: ‘As Britain’s climate improves, an growing variety of abroad guests will return to the UK. That’s nice for our tourism business. Nevertheless, the newest Workplace for Nationwide Statistics (ONS) knowledge on attitudes in direction of Covid amongst UK arrivals reveals solely 49% of abroad residents had acquired greater than two jabs. In distinction, nearly 70% of UK nationals returning to the nation from a visit overseas had acquired not less than three vaccinations. It additionally reveals that just about 20% of abroad guests imagine testing is “under no circumstances vital” or “not essential” for security.
‘The UK’s elimination of Covid restrictions, together with the reckless step of ending free assessments from the start of this month, relies on important numbers of the UK inhabitants having adequate antibodies to the virus, largely as a result of our profitable vaccinations coverage.
‘Nevertheless, that delicate steadiness might be endangered as a result of growing numbers of abroad vacationers who haven’t been triple jabbed and who don’t imagine testing will increase security. The chances are high that virus mutations seem in populations the place the illness is widespread, however folks haven’t acquired excessive ranges of immunity. It’s thought of seemingly that individuals with compromised immune programs, maybe as a result of they’re already affected by one other sickness after which catch Covid as properly, could also be a major trigger of recent variants.
‘ this survey of attitudes, rising numbers of abroad residents arriving within the UK will improve the probability of a brand new variant arriving right here. With all of the UK’s Covid defences down, a extremely transmissible variant with extra extreme signs than the present dominant pressure (omicron BA. 2) may sweep by means of the inhabitants earlier than we have now time to restore our Covid defences. Analysis has proven that individuals lose their Covid-19 immunity over time and this can change into extra of a urgent difficulty as we enter the summer time months.
‘The Authorities ought to not less than rethink its myopic determination to finish free testing. It must also develop speedy response plans to impose obligatory pre-flight assessments for guests from international locations reporting a major new variant. In any other case, this report reveals our present laissez faire angle to Covid testing may price us expensive this summer time.
‘For anybody involved about their antibody ranges and the way efficient their inoculation has been, taking a quantitative Covid antibody check is advisable. The brand new era blood assessments accessible from London Medical Laboratory are extremely correct, fast and easy to hold out, both at house by means of the publish, or at one of many many drop-in clinics that provide this check throughout London and the southeast.’