UK Covid Live: Cases of new Indian variant discovered in London as ‘red list’ of countries ‘under constant review’

Leah Sinclair
·1-min read
Heathrow Airport (PA Wire)
Heathrow Airport (PA Wire)

Downing Street has insisted that the red list of countries is “under constant review” amid concerns over a new coronavirus variant first identified in India.

So far 77 of cases of the variant have been found in the UK, including some in London. The variant, known as B.1617, carries two mutations in the spike protein that experts fear may help it evade the body’s immune response.

Number 10 also said Boris Johnson’s trip to India would still go ahead later this month, despite concerns over the variant and surging case numbers in the country.

Meanwhile, senior government officials are said to have raised “urgent” concerns over the mass use of rapid Covid testing, with fears over accuracy prompting suggestions that the program could be scaled back.

Leaked emails seen by the Guardian reveal that officials are considering reducing the extensive testing of people without symptoms, due to an increasing number of false positives.

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