‘New variant could already be here!’ Sky News host erupts at Boris on lack of border plans

Sky News host grills Michelle Donelan on coronavirus variants

Matt Hancock announced on Monday night there are more than 100 confirmed cases of the South African Covid variant in the UK. It came as Ministers were grilled over the Government’s strategy to block the spread of new coronavirus variants in the UK amidst fears they may be more resistant to existing vaccines. Michelle Donelan was confronted by Sky News presenter Niall Paterson who slammed Boris Johnson’s Government for not acting sooner to extend restrictions to all overseas travel.

Sky News’s Niall Paterson said: “The problem is, of course, the South African variant was already in the United Kingdom most likely before we took any action as regards travel.

“I mean the problem is we go all the way back to last summer when we heard Boris Johnson describing the government strategy for dealing with COVID-19 as wack a mole.

“It does feel like we are back there again Brazilian variant bash, South African variant bosh.

“The next new variant may already be here given the lag factor.

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“If they are not on the red list, people will question whether or not the Government should have done more to at least firm up the borders if not entirely close them.

Ms Donelan replied: “ One we have also got to remember is one of the most challenging variants that we’ve dealt with is in fact the UK variant 

“Which we know is up to 70 percent transmissible and this is a pandemic where things are constantly evolving constantly changing and we are dealing with different threats week on week

“And we are changing our policies to adapt to that, to save lives and to reduce that pressure on the NHS

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“But we can obviously look back in hindsight with the information that we now have 

“But we didn’t have that information at the time

“We have always based our decisions on the best scientific and medical advice that we can get in this country.”

Urgent testing for the South Africa variant of coronavirus is beginning in parts of England after cases were found with no known links to travel or previous cases.

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Door-to-door testing for the South African mutation of Covid-19 is due to begin in England after multiple cases were reported in different parts of the country.

The South African variant was previously only found in those linked to travel from South Africa.

However, following new cases not related to travel to South Africa, surge testing will now be carried out.

This testing will take place in areas including parts of London, the South East, the West Midlands, the North West and East of England.

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