UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday (13) he was concerned about a new variant of the coronavirus attributed to Brazil and said it could limit the entry of travelers from the country.
“We already have tough measures to protect our country against new infections from abroad and we are taking measures to do so in relation to the Brazilian variant,” he told parliamentarians of a committee of the Communal room.
However, he did not say whether direct flights would be banned as he did for those arriving from South Africa, where a new variant has also been reported. According to the Prime Minister, there are still many doubts about this new strain.
Japan’s National Institute of Infectious Diseases, where the mutations were detected after the arrival of Brazilian travelers, said there was so far no evidence that the variant found in Brazil is more infectious.
Boris said border controls would be tightened to prevent variants from entering the country.
From Friday (15), to enter England from abroad, you will need to present a negative coronavirus test carried out 72 hours before departure. A similar step is to be taken in Scotland and Wales, but no date has yet been announced.
Under the pressure of a contagion peak after detecting a variant in its own territory, the UK has recorded more than 1,500 deaths from Covid-19 in 24 hours, the highest number reported in a single day since start of the pandemic. Asked about the situation in hospitals, the premier said there were 32,000 people hospitalized, 70% above the peak in April last year, and risk of collapse in intensive care.
“If you ask me when we think the capacity of the ICU is likely to be exceeded, I cannot predict that, but all I can say is that the risk is very significant”, a- he declared. Last weekend, the country’s medical and health officials had already warned of the “most difficult battle in history” within the national health service.
To contain transmission, the four members of the United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) have decreed a new strict containment, which may show some signs of success: the number of new cases recorded in a day was of 45 thousand, well below the recent peak of over 80,000. The government is concerned, however, that the Christmas and New Year’s meetings could cause a new peak.
Boris told lawmakers 2.8 million doses had already been given to 2.4 million people in the country’s four main risk groups (which includes the elderly and frontline professionals from Covid-19). The UK was the first western country to approve the use of vaccines in December last year and already has three vaccines licensed (from Pfizer, Oxford and Moderna).