The road to the end of the pandemic is long and winding. The threat of new and more infective or resistant variants of the coronavirus is threatening even the countries that have vaccinated their populations the most.
This is happening in the United Kingdom, where the alarming expansion of the Indian variant – last Thursday a 160% increase was announced compared to the previous week – has led the Government led by Boris Johnson to ask that people do not travel or leave the areas most affected by this strain unless absolutely necessary.
This recommendation affects Bolton, Kirklees, Burnley and Darwen and Burnley in central Britain and Leicester, Hounslow (London), Bedford and North Tyneside. In addition, it is also requested to avoid indoor gatherings and to maintain a distance of two meters to curb contagions.
The publication of these guidelines -which do not have the status of law- on the NHS website without notifying the authorities of the affected areas has provoked criticism from both mayors and the head of the opposition, Keir Starmer, who has asked Johnson to clarify the changes “quickly”.
In the country with the second highest percentage of the population vaccinated with at least one dose – 56% of the population and 72.3% of adults, only Israel has vaccinated more – the Indian variant is replacing the British variant at the forefront of the ecological niche in several areas.
At the moment, the British government has detected more than 5,000 cases of this strain of the virus in England alone and in places such as Bolton, Blackburn or Bedford this variant is already behind most of the new cases.
However, despite the worrying advance of this strain, the United Kingdom maintains, for the moment, very low coronavirus incidence figures. According to NHS data, only 2,439 cases have been reported nationwide in the last day, although infections have increased by 17% compared to the previous week.
Likewise, the number of deaths caused by the pathogen continues to plummet. In the last seven days only 40 people have died from coronavirus, 46.7% less than the previous week.