Indian Variant Risks Plunging UK Into Lockdown, Warns Ferguson

Professor Neil Ferguson.

Britain may need tighter Covid-19 restrictions as more than 3,000 cases are recorded for the first time in a month, expert Prof. Neil Ferguson has warned.

NUMBERS have risen by 18 per cent in the past seven days as the Indian variant spreads.

“It’s a matter of degree. If you hypothesise a situation where the virus is 60 per cent more transmissible, then you could see a third wave the size we have just come out of – but if it’s 20-30 per cent it will be much lower. We can cope with a certain level of increased transmissibility and still continue with the roadmap but if it’s higher than that we have to reconsider,” said Prof. Neil Ferguson.


“So, the road map the UK is adopting with the context of a high level of vaccine coverage of gradually reopening is robust to a certain level of increase in transmissibility of the virus, and a certain limited level of immune escape of evading the vaccines, but only a certain amount. If it goes beyond those levels, then we need to reconsider the rate of reopening and maybe slow the next step.

“I think we’re continuing to evaluate data. I think it’s actually too early to say whether we will be able to go ahead with what was planned in the UK in mid-June and the next step or whether the fourth stage of relaxation will need to be postponed or indeed, in the worst case, measures need to be tightened up. We’re getting more and more data every week, but we hope to be in a position to be more definitive about these answers in the next two to three weeks,” he added.

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