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Published on Friday, September 17, 2021

Full lockdown possible if new variants are vaccine-resistant






Environment Secretary George Eustice warned the country could face a full lockdown if another variant manages to circumvent the vaccine,


"Arguably the biggest threat to the travel industry is that if we do get another variant that manages to get around the vaccines. Then we're into another full lockdown and that's not what we want, Eustace told Sky News.


"That's why we've taken this cautiously, step by step, because we want each step we take to be irreversible."


The new Mu variant is believed to be resistant to vaccines.


Public Health England has already recorded more than 50 cases in the country.


This includes 23 Mu cases in London.


Ahead of an imminent decision which is expected to scrap PCR tests for the fully jabbed and replace them with lateral flow testing, Eustace sounded a note of caution.


"The rationale for the PCR test is that you can do genome sequencing of variants and you can, therefore, detect possible variants of concern. The difficulty with the lateral flow test, although it is cheaper and simpler to do, it is not able to pick up those variants."


As well as the possible scrapping of PCR tests, the traffic light system is expected to be overhauled with a more simplified two-tier system.


The green and amber tiers would be combined but the high risk red list would remain, although the number of countries on it may be significantly cut.

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