Locking down entire streets could be way to stop new Covid variants, says expert

LOCKING down entire streets could be a crucial way to keep outbreaks of more transmissible Covid variants under control, an expert has urged.

Dr Jeffrey Barrett, director of the Covid-19 Genomics Initiative at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, said such extreme measures could be the best way forward.

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He said it was important to deploy “the most effective measures possible” to contain these outbreaks, reported The Telegraph.

Asked if shutting roads would have a medical impact, he replied: “It certainly could, because one of the trickiest parts of this virus overall is, of course, some individuals who are infected don’t have symptoms and so they can transmit.

“Trying to use interventions that might stop asymptomatic transmission may well be an important part of keeping outbreaks of these new variants as absolutely small as possible.”

There could be a “chance” variants will be “less well neutralised” by vaccines, so “it’s really important to be able to try to keep that number as close to zero as possible”, added Dr Barrett.

One important way to contain outbreaks is surge testing, like that now under way in London for the South African variant.

Three boroughs have set up additional centres to process thousands of residents eligible for tests.

More than half a million adults in south London have been offered tests – 264,000 in Lambeth, 265,000 in Wandsworth, and 14,80 0 in Rotherhithe, Southwark.

A case was also detected in Barnet, north London, and home testing kits were delivered door-to-door in the area yesterday

The Department of Health and Social Care confirmed the case in Barnet was unrelated to other clusters, but it had been isolated and the person’s contacts traced.

Despite the variants detected, latest figures show Covid deaths have plunged by 43 per cent in a week with 30 fatalities recorded in the last 24 hours.

A further 2,672 Brits have tested positive for the virus since yesterday bringing the total amount of infections to 4,380,976.

However, a new study has found that having the coronavirus previously does not protect young people from becoming infected again.

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