With ‘mounting evidence that EVADES vaccination’, the beta form in France poses a huge threat to the UK.
A scientist involved in advising the Government has warned that the Beta version of coronavirus circulating in France poses a “danger” to the UK, citing accumulating evidence that “it can resist the immune response elicited by the AstraZeneca vaccine more efficiently.”
Professor John Edmunds of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who is also a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said he could appreciate the fears about the variation, which originated in South Africa and has resulted in last-minute travel restriction adjustments. When restrictions on other amber list nations are removed, travellers returning from France must continue to quarantine – even if they have been double jabbed.
The move was described as a precautionary measure by ministers, who cited concerns over the Beta variant’s “persistent presence” in the country.
“The Beta variety has remained a threat throughout,” Prof Edmunds told the BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme.
“It’s probably less contagious than the Delta form that’s now circulating in the UK.
“Where it excels is in its ability to evade the immunological response to a greater extent.”
“As the population here becomes more immune, the conditions are ripe for the Beta version to gain an advantage,” he continued, “so I understand the concern.”
“Of all the varieties that are known to exist, that one has always posed a threat to us.
“There is some indication from South Africa that it can more effectively circumvent the immunological response elicited by the AstraZeneca vaccine.”
The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is one of four recently authorized vaccines that have been given to millions of people in the United Kingdom.
If you have been doubly vaccinated or are under the age of 18, you will not need to quarantine on arrival if you are returning to England from any of the amber list countries except France from Monday.
The announcement from France adds to the skepticism in certain quarters about the relaxation of lockdown restrictions in England on July 19.
It also represents yet another setback for the travel industry, according to industry association Abta, which described it as a “significant setback” for prospects of a “meaningful recovery.”
It also came just two days after the Spanish resort islands of Ibiza, Mallorca, and Menorca were reclassified from green to.