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EMERGENCY MEETING: SAGE express concerns over Indian coronavirus variant

EMERGENCY MEETING: SAGE express concerns over Indian coronavirus variant

Published on 13-05-21


The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies - SAGE - is expected to hold an emergency meeting following the spread of the Indian coronavirus variant throughout the UK.

A recent study suggests that Coronavirus cases in England are at their lowest level since last summer. However, the Indian variant of the virus is currently causing serious concern as it makes its way across the country.

The latest developments could impact the next phase of lockdown easing, and see a delay to the Prime Minister’s roadmap. SAGE plan to meet today to discuss the situation.

There is some promising news though, as the European Medicines Agency said on Wednesday that it felt confident that the roll out of the vaccine is proving to be effective against the variant, with some British scientists saying they agree.

When asked if the increasing figures for the Indian variant could impact plans for the roadmap to finish on June 21st, Foreign Office minister James Cleverly told Sky News: "The scientists on SAGE will make their assessments, they will report back to government and we will make decisions based on the data and the evidence that they provide.

"The prime minister and the health secretary have always been clear that the easing of restrictions which will allow us to get back to normality will be done at a pace and in a way which is safe. We will always be driven by the data."

Professor Paul Hunter, who works at University of East Anglia at the Norwich School of Medicine, said: “Fortunately as yet there is no sign that hospitalisations have started to increase in the UK.

“There has been a lot of debate about when and if a further wave of infection will happen in the UK. The reports of today suggest that this wave may have already begun.

“That hospitalisations have yet to increase would be consistent with the view that vaccine is still effective at reducing the risk of severe disease and gives hope that this new wave, if it indeed continues, will be less damaging to the NHS.”

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