‘Experts’ are urging Brits to start wearing face masks on public transport again because they fear that a super-infectious Covid variant could be about to sweep the country.
The latest varient Arcturus is, apparently, responsible for one in 40 new cases, and has sparked concerns that it could soon become a dominant strain and trigger a fresh wave of disease.
Arctucurus or XBB.1.16 – a subs-strain of Omicron- is thought to have evolved to become the most contagious variant yet.
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The Mail Online reports: Virologists have warned that Covid still poses a threat, even though the virus is much milder and the UK no longer has the heavy restrictions of the pandemic in place.
Professor Stephen Griffin, chair of Independent SAGE, the panel of experts who were critical of Downing Street’s handling of the disease during the pandemic, said ‘we are clearly in a much better position’ now.
However, he told MailOnline he would urge people to still test wherever possible or necessary.
Professor Griffin, from the University of Leeds, also called for employers and Government to support people when they are unwell and need to self-isolate.
He encouraged adults to wear a well-fitted N95 mask or high-quality mask when in ‘poorly ventilated indoor spaces or public transport’.
‘This may seem like a throwback to last year, but the reality is the virus continues to do harm and those least able to cope continue to suffer,’ Professor Griffin added.
‘In the absence of population-scale mitigations… the focus remains upon individual risk which is, for many, now much lower.
‘However, the situation remains dynamic with waning immunity and high rates of viral evolution.
‘If Government won’t act to enable everyone to “live” with Covid, vulnerable people will continue to require precautions and, ideally, others will act with an appropriate level of altruism.’
Some hospitals and NHS facilities still call for patients to cover up before entering, although it is no longer legally required.
Professor Martin McKee, a public health specialist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: ‘Covid is still with us and remains a threat to health.’