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Over 2,300 people in UK infected with India Covid strain – Times of India

LONDON: The highly transmissible Indian variant of the coronavirus has now been found in 86 districts across the UK, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said, as he urged the public to be cautious when meeting friends inside.
Authorities identified 2,323 cases of the variant on Monday, with cases doubling last week in Bolton and Blackburn, in north-west England, Hancock told the Communal room Monday.
With 86 local authorities confirmed to have five or more cases of the Indian variant, Hancock said it was vital that people get vaccinated. Most people with the strain known as B.1.617.2 in areas around Bolton had not received a vaccine, he said, and early evidence suggests vaccines still work against this variant.
“The immunization program can give us confidence, but we need to be alert to new variations that may compromise the progress we have made,” Hancock said. “We must act with caution and caution and fight the virus, whatever form it attacks us.”
An England-wide ban on mixing households indoors was relaxed on Monday and bars, restaurants and cafes were allowed to open to customers indoors for the first time in months. The vaccine rollout is being changed to give those over 50 and the most vulnerable their second dose faster to ensure they are protected as quickly as possible.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has previously warned that the final step in lifting restrictions, scheduled for June 21, could be delayed due to growing concerns over the new variant.
Travel issues
Hancock faced repeated questions parliament on reopening international travel, as many variations are being introduced into Britain from overseas.
Since Monday, British are able to travel to a number of countries on the so-called “green list” – including Portugal and Israel – without the need for quarantine on return. But there are concerns about the lack of clarity on the “orange list” of countries, including France and Spain, that people are legally allowed to visit but ministers have said not to do.
Jeremy Hunt, Tory MP and former health secretary, called for “absolute clarity” on the rules. Hancock said the government’s advice was “very clear,” adding: “People should not go to Orange List countries for vacations.”
Hancock was also criticized for the UK’s timing to ban travel from India, as opposition MPs feared a delay in April opened the doors to thousands who could have be infected with the variant.
He insisted the right decisions were made at the time, saying Pakistan and Bangladesh had been put on the “red list” two weeks earlier because people arriving from those countries had high rates of death. infection higher than passengers disembarking from India.
Hancock denied claims by several MPs that the real reason was Johnson did not want to offend India’s PM Narendra Modi before a planned commercial visit. This trip was finally canceled on April 19, the same day India was placed on the red list.

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