The Latest: Britain tests, vaccinates to contain variant
LONDON — Britain is deploying public health officials, supported by the army, to distribute coronavirus tests door-to-door in two northern England towns to help contain a fast-spreading variant that threatens lockdown-easing plans.
Cases of a strain first identified in India have more than doubled in a week. Government scientific advisers say the variant is likely more transmissible than the U.K.’s dominant strain, though it’s unclear by how much.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned that the variant “could be a serious disruption to our progress.” He says the next stage of lockdown-easing measures will take place as planned on Monday but warned the variant might delay plans to lift all restrictions on June 21.
Labour Party lawmaker Yvette Cooper said the government had not barred visitors arriving from India until April 23, a decision that let in “many hundreds of new variant cases.”
More than two-thirds of British adults have received a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine and 37% have had both doses. The government is shortening the gap between doses for people over 50 from 12 to eight weeks in a bid to give them more protection.
THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— Success story Taiwan faces its worst outbreak in pandemic
— States, business sort out what new CDC mask guidance means
— Cuba rolls out mass vaccines while awaiting study results
— Southern European countries are racing to reopen their tourism services despite delays in rolling out a planned EU-wide travel pass
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