UNLOCKING Brits from Covid restrictions could be a “recipe for trouble”, Dr Hilary Jones has warned.
The last stage of the roadmap out of lockdown is on July 19, but the expert said we need to be mindful of new variants such as the Lambda strain – which has now spread to 31 countries.
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Lambda was first detected in Peru, with local authorities reporting 81 per cent of Covid cases sequenced since April associated with the variant.
It has been labelled a variant “of interest” by the WHO after spreading fast through South America.
Cases of the variant have also been detected in the UK, with Public Health England (PHE) saying there are currently eight known cases of the C.37 variant.
As the UK is set to unlock in a matter of weeks cases are still rising, but vaccines are preventing people from becoming seriously ill with the virus.
Speaking on Good Morning Britain today Dr Hilary said: “We have faith in vaccinations, it is very effective but we are still seeing some people in hospital now who have been double jabbed and still got Covid and they are still quite with it.
“We’ve also got a new strain that originated in the Peru called the Lambda variant which is of concern, it’s in 31 countries now and it’s also here in Britain, so there will be new variants.
“Abandoning everything all at once when we are seeing rising cases is a recipe for trouble”.
It was reported yesterday cases in the UK have now reached their highest levels since January.
A further 28,773 infections were reported as 37 more Covid deaths were recorded.
Hospital admissions hit over 400 yesterday in the highest rise since March, jumping 20.9 per cent on the 269 recorded a week before.
Yesterday’s cases figure is also the highest since January 29 – when 29,079 were reported.
And this time last week, daily Covid infections reached 20,479 – meaning that there has been a 40 per cent increase in infections in a week.
The number of coronavirus deaths reported yesterday is also the highest number of fatalities the UK has seen since April 23.
And just a week ago there were 23 daily deaths recorded, meaning that there has been a 60 per cent increase in the last seven days.
Millions of Brits have now received a Covid jab and Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced this week that Brits under 40 could have their second jab eight weeks after their first.
Some experts were concerned that vaccines would not work against the Lambda variant – adding more danger to unlocking.
But scientists yesterday revealed that both the Pfizer and Moderna jabs are both effective.
The latest study from the New York University Grossman School of Medicine shows Moderna and Pfizer’s vaccinations are effective against serious illness and catching the strain.
The authors wrote: “The results suggest that the vaccines in current use will remain protective against the lambda variant and that monoclonal antibody therapy will remain effective.
“The findings highlight the importance of wide-spread adoption of vaccination which will protect individuals from disease, decrease virus spread and slow the emergence of novel variants.”
Of particular concern to virologists is the L452Q spike protein because of its potential to infect human cells like the L452R mutation in the highly infectious Delta variant.
Peruvian scientists noticed the variant in December when it accounted for “just one in every 200 samples”.