The UK health secretary Sajid Javid thinks it is highly likely that “a new variant will cause trouble in the future.”
Javid told MPs that the Government had to “stay on top of” the virus as new strains continue emerge in the months and years ahead. He said that pharmaceutical interventions, like vaccines, may have to be rushed out once again in a bid to stay on top of the situation.
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His warning comes just as reports warn that a new covid sub-variant has been discovered in the UK.
The BA.2 strain was classified as a variant under investigation by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA). on January 22.
Over 400 cases of the variant, which is a sub-strain of Omicron, have been reported so far, with some early studies suggesting it may be more transmissible.
The Express reports: The Bromsgrove MP confirmed planning was also underway to prepare the NHS for new surges of infections caused by variants in future.
“It’s a reminder of the importance to stay vigilant but also to stay vaccinated,” Mr Javid told the health and social care committee.
“I think there likely will be a variant that will be trouble in the future.”
He added: “We’ve got to have some system of surge capacity that is sort of pre-planned, pre-thought through, to be in abeyance most of the time but if there is a new wave or a new concern about capacity we can quickly turn it on.”
Last week Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced he would not be extending his Plan B Covid measures – which mandated Covid passes for large events and made face masks in indoor spaces compulsory – beyond January 26.
He also said he was planning to remove further rules such as self-isolation for those infected with the virus this spring.
Mr Javid said he will be setting out a plan on how the country can “learn to live with Covid” in the coming weeks.
He told MPs that vaccines, treatments such as antivirals, and testing will be “top of the list”.
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