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Health experts fear unlocked England could become an incubator for new Covid variants

Health experts fear unlocked England could become an incubator for new Covid variants

England’s relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions is risking the emergence of new, potentially more dangerous variants of the virus, scientists have warned. England lifted most of it last remaining restrictions on July 19, including mandatory mask-wearing and social distancing. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland still have some restrictions in place. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has previously described the easing of restrictions as “irreversible.”

However, the reopening policy has been publicly criticized by a consortium of more than 1,200 scientists from around the world. One concern is around the possible consequences of unlocking society amid high infection rates and a partially vaccinated population, and how unrestricted mixing under those circumstances could shape the way the virus evolves.

Each time a person is infected with Covid-19, they go from having a few copies of the virus to hundreds of thousands or even tens of millions of copies in their system. When the virus makes a copy of itself, there’s a chance it might make a mistake in the new copy that could inadvertently give the virus an advantage.

During the week ending July 29, 204,669 people tested positive for Covid-19 in the U.K., down 37% from the previous week. The reopening of international travel makes it difficult to contain mutated versions of Covid-19, Pagel warned. At a summit earlier this month, she argued that because of the U.K.’s position as a global travel hub, any variant that becomes dominant in unlocked England will likely spread to the rest of the world.

Health experts fear unlocked England could become an incubator for new Covid variants, CNBC, Aug 2

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