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A new Covid variant could potentially kill one in three people it infects, it has shockingly been claimed.
The suggestion was “sneaked out” amid a among a number of other reports during parliamentary recess, according to a new report.
The document, published by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) warned of a new strain of the virus that has killed over four million people and devastated the world economy.
The group estimated that the as-yet unnamed future strain could have a fatality rate of 35% – putting it on a par with the feared Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which itself is now said to have killed over 800 people.
The SNP’s Dr Philippa Whitford, who is vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus, said the report “should have sent shock waves through the UK Government,” but was quietly sneaked out out among a glut of reports during parliamentary recess, the Daily Mail reports.
She continued: “Recommendations and comments made by SAGE bring home the simple reality — that we have not yet ‘defeated’ this virus.”
Dr. Whitford warned: “Unless there is a rapid increase in global production, through sharing knowledge and technology, it simply will not be possible to vaccinate the world and bring the pandemic to an end."
She added that stricter border controls needed to be brought in to prevent the “uncontrolled spread” of deadly new variants.
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In September last year, the Alpha Covid variant was first detected in the UK.
It was 50% more transmissible than the original D614G variant and spread rapidly around the world.
The Delta variant which follows that was 50% more transmissible again. Along with the Beta and Gamma variants, it’s still listed as a “variant of concern” and others may follow.
Professor Ravindra Gupta, from the University of Cambridge, said: “I’d be cautious about saying that we are nearing its limit. We don’t know where that is. At the moment, the virus is basically saying there is no end to this.”
Scientists have made a number of recommendations to limit the spread of mutant variants, including a rollout of booster vaccines across the UK before the Winter flu season, and potentially culling some animals – for example cats – which are known to be capable of carrying the virus.
Meanwhile, China is facing a surge in the Delta variant which has spread to five provinces including Beijing and is threatening the worst Covid outbreak in the country since Wuhan.
It was first reported in Nanjing in Jiangsu province with the whole area now in a strict lockdown.
The initial cases were found at Nanjing Lukou International airport on July 20, with workers and cleaners of a plane from Russia coming down with Covid, said Ding Jie, deputy director of disease control and prevention in the city.
China’s state news agency Xinhua news has said that the workers did not follow strict hygiene rules.
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