LiveLIVE UPDATES: Coronavirus NI - Indian double-mutation variant detected in Scotland and England - Executive 'concerned' about ROI Covid-19 threat to Northern Ireland progress

A Covid-19 variant first discovered in India has been detected in both England and Scotland, Public Health England has confirmed.

Friday, 16th April 2021, 12:39 pm

Scroll down for more on this story.

Sign up to our public interest bulletins - get the latest news on the Coronavirus

Sign up to our public interest bulletins - get the latest news on the Coronavirus

Surge testing like what is depicted in this photograph is one weapon health authorities can call upon when a variant outbreak occurs.

LIVE UPDATES: Coronavirus NI - Indian double-mutation variant detected in Scotland and England

Last updated: Friday, 16 April, 2021, 13:20

  • Indian double-mutation variant detected in Scotland and England
  • Executive 'concerned' about ROI Covid-19 threat to Northern Ireland progress
  • ‘There will be more new variants’ says Arlene Foster
  • ROI has 'not dealt with passenger locator forms in satisfactory way'

Indian double-mutation variant detected in Scotland and England

A Covid-19 variant first discovered in India has been detected in both England and Scotland, Public Health England has confirmed.

Up until April 14, 2021, a total of seventy-seven cases of B.1.617 have been discovered in England (73) and Scotland (4).

Zero cases of B.1.617 were detected in Northern Ireland up to April 14, 2021.

The B.1.617 variant has been described by some health experts as potentially “a lot more problematic”.

“These two escape mutations working together could be a lot more problematic than the South African and Brazilian variants who have only got one escape mutation,” Professor Paul Hunter, professor in medicine at the University of East Anglia, said.

“It might be even less controlled by vaccine than the Brazilian and South African variants.”

‘There will be more new variants’ says Arlene Foster

First Minister, Arlene Foster, believes there “will be more new variants” of Covid-19 that will pose a risk to the way in which the Northern Ireland Executive responds to the coronavirus pandemic.

Mrs. Foster was answering questions in the Assembly chamber on Thursday evening after she and deputy First Minister, Michelle O’Neill, announced an array of dates many businesses can open their doors to the public for the first time this year.

The DUP leader was asked a specific question by DUP MLA, Pam Cameron, about the notorious passenger locator forms the Executive had requested from the Republic of Ireland government to help with the regulation of international passengers landing in Dublin but who cross the border into Northern Ireland.

Mrs. Foster replied: “The passenger locator forms, unfortunately, have not been dealt with in a satisfactory way and that is something I regret.”

First Minister Foster went on to tell MLAs that the Executive had also been briefed on the modelling that will be used over the next six months by the Chief Scientific Advisor.

“Some of the negative factors he listed were we cannot be positive about how much immunity people have and whether it is going to wane, especially in the older population.

“Whether there will be more new variants, and I think from what we have seen there will be more new variants unfortunately.

“And then of course the other issue he mentioned was the movement into Northern Ireland from higher incidents levels and that’s something that does concern us, in particular in relation to the Republic of Ireland - they have twice the amount of incidents we have at the moment.

Page 1 of 1