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Delta plus variant: UK 'on top of situation’ after 41 cases of mutation discovered

Since April, 41 cases of Delta plus, or the Nepal variant, have been detected in the UK. The Delta plus variant is not classified as a new variant by the World Health Organisation, but is similar to the original Delta strain with an additional mutation called K417N.

Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at Public Health England (PHE), spoke during the coronavirus press briefing on Wednesday about the strain.

She told reporters: “As the Minister said, we have the best system in the world for picking up these cases.

“We’ve only seen 41 of the particular variant with this additional mutation in this country, which is very small, and obviously around those cases we will do enhanced testing and enhanced follow up.

“So I think we’re on top of the situation. I think we continue to be vigilant but the good message is what we expected to happen with Delta was that the vaccines would prove to be effective against the more serious disease, and we expect the same for this other variant.

“But there’s also the option of having different vaccines in the future and that’s something we’ll continue monitoring, so vigilance is our best sort of friend her against these mutations.”

READ MORE: Where is the Delta plus variant right now? ALL countries revealed

Fears over Delta plus follow the Indian Government classifying the mutation as a ‘variant of concern’.

On Wednesday, they said 40 cases of the Delta plus variant had been observed in the three states of Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh.

Indian’s health ministry said the Delta plus variant has characteristics such as “increased transmissibility, stronger binding to receptors of lung cells, and potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response”.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the new mutation was responsible for Portugal being removed from the UK’s ‘green list’ for travel in the first week of June.

Professor Francois Balloux, from University College London, told The Telegraph however there was “no particular cause for concern” from Delta plus.

He told the outlet: “Given the tiny number of strains reported, nothing is known about the transmissibility, immune evasion or lethality of the delta plus strain.

“Though, given that it has remained at very low frequency everywhere where it has been identified strongly suggests it is not more transmissible than its delta progenitor.

“The mutation may contribute to immune escape, though its impact on transmissibility is not clear-cut.”


Coronavirus cases jumped in the UK by 40 percent from Tuesday to Wednesday.

June 23 saw 16,135 cases, 19 deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test and a further 211 people admitted to hospital with the virus.

In total, the UK has seen 4,667,870 cases and 128,027 deaths from the virus.

Another 299,837 first doses and 250,875 second doses of coronavirus vaccine were administered on Wednesday.

In total, 43,448,680 first doses and 31,740,115 second doses have been been administered, equalling 82.5 percent and 60.3 percent of the population respectively.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: UK Feed

Caravan and motorhome owners face 'on the spot' checks and fines this summer

Drivers risk being hit with hefty fines and even penalty points on their licence for failing to use caravans or motorhomes safely. The move comes after experts are concerned about a possible surge in staycation holidays due to international travel quarantine rules.

They warn drivers could be issued fines of up to £2,500 for using a vehicle while it is in a dangerous condition.

Breaching this driving rule could also see drivers issued three penalty points or even be temporarily banned from the roads.

Drivers can also be fined up to £1,000 and bet three penalty points if they tow a caravan without proper towing mirrors

GOV.UK said any tow bars must be “type approved” and meet EU regulations for each car.

“It’s great to see caravans and trailers returning to the road but drivers who tow have a special responsibility to ensure they #towsafe4freddie.

“Many caravans and trailers have been parked up over winter, so we’re urging drivers who are new to towing or haven’t towed for a while to carry out some simple checks.

“Our ask is, whatever you’re towing, make it SAFE.”

The Tow Safe 4 Freddie campaign was launched after 3-year-old Freddie Hussey was killed when a trailer became unhitched as he walked near his home.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Life and Style Feed
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George Osborne's humiliating Brexit property crash prediction as UK market 'on fire'

The Bank of England’s Chief Economist, Andy Haldane, said the UK housing market is currently “on fire” ahead of his final monetary policy committee (MPC) meeting on Thursday. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), property prices rose by 8.9 percent in the year to April, which was down from 9.9 percent boom in March – the biggest rise since 2007. It appears to be an embarrassing blow for Mr Osborne after his downbeat assessment for Britain after Brexit.

Speaking at the G7 summit in 2016, Mr Osborne said: “If we leave the European Union, there will be an immediate economic shock that will hit financial markets. People will not know what the future looks like.

“In the long term, the country and the people in the country are going to be poorer.

“That affects the value of people’s homes and the Treasury analysis shows that there would be a hit to the value of people’s homes by at least 10 percent and up to 18 percent.”

The forecast was shared on Twitter yesterday by the Financial Time’s Chief Political Correspondent, Jim Pickard, who noted: “Not sure this prediction has aged brilliantly.”

The Treasury’s forecast was said to be for the first two years after the vote and came following a series of warnings from Downing Street forecasting dire consequences.

Mr Osborne also said households would be £4,300 a year worse off and millions of jobs would be at risk, while former Prime Minister David Cameron argued that Brexit could jeopardise peace in Europe.

At the time they were accused of scaremongering and negativity by Vote Leave – Former Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom said it was “an extraordinary claim and I’m amazed that Treasury civil servants would be prepared to make it”.

She added: “The truth is that the greatest threat to the economy is the perilous state of the euro, staying in the EU means locking ourselves to a currency zone, which Mervyn King, the ex-governor of the Bank of England, has rightly warned ‘could explode’.

“The safer option in this referendum is to take back control of the vast sums we send to Brussels every day and vote Leave on June 23.”

READ MORE: ‘Hugely concerned’ archaeologists tell Boris Johnson act now to avoid UK history ‘crisis’

Jamie Durham, an economist at PWC, said: “These figures appear to confirm the market remains hot, notwithstanding that the housing market was effectively closed in April last year, which makes comparisons difficult to read too much into.

“We expect that these forces will continue to support price growth over the coming months.”

And the ONS said: “UK average house prices fell on the month in April, ending 11 consecutive months of growth.

“House prices continued to increase when compared with last year, with London once again showing the lowest annual growth most apparent within inner London boroughs.”

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: UK Feed

Rafael Benitez 'on the brink' of being confirmed as new Everton boss after holding talks

“How about immediately?

“Of the names instantly linked with Everton as the Ancelotti news broke, who is more qualified than my former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez?

“Rafa is available, settled in the area and I am sure he is ready if Moshiri is prepared to consider one of the more shocking managerial appointments in Merseyside football history.

“At the very least, Benitez should be under consideration as Moshiri begins yet another managerial quest. And not for the first time, before the owner decides the right candidate, he has to be clear of the football direction he wants to take.”

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed