WHO adviser: UK must put India on travel red list amid variant concerns

17 April 2021, 11:23

By Seán Hickey

An expert adviser to the World Health Organisation tells LBC that the Government has to ban travel from India as soon as possible.

Professor Paul Hunter is Professor of Health Protection at the University of East Anglia and an expert adviser to the World Health Organisation. He joined Andrew Pierce as concerns grow over a new variant of coronavirus raging in India.

"If you were advising the Government" Andrew began, "would you be suggesting that India goes on the red list?"

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"If you're going to have a traffic light system for international cases I would certainly believe that that India should be on the red list along with other countries that actually don't have as big a problem as India has," he insisted.

Andrew wondered, if India was indeed placed on the red list, how long such restrictions would work in quelling the spread of the Indian variant.

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"They ultimately don't work in the long-term but they can delay it," the WHO adviser claimed.

He stressed that in the long-term "new vaccines being developed at a month's delay might make a difference," more so than a blanket travel ban.

Andrew wondered whether scientists will "already be looking at the Indian variant in the laboratories" to try alter vaccines to fight it.

Professor Hunter told Andrew that the latest mutation being worked on is the South African variant, and vaccines against the Indian variant will take longer.

He warned that "we don't know for certain if a vaccine against the South African variant would work" against the Indian variant.