'We need to look really hard at border control', scientist warns amid new Brazil variant

13 January 2021, 18:30

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Border control should be looked at for traveller from Brazil and Japan with measures brought in swiftly, one scientist has told LBC.

After Boris Johnson said the emergence of a new Covid variant in Brazil is a "concern" but the government is "taking steps" to prevent it entering the UK LBC spoke to Professor Lawrence Young from the University of Warwick Medical School.

When LBC's Eddie Mair asked the scientist how worried he was about the new Brazil variant of coronavirus the answer was that he was "concerned."

He said as new mutations of the Covid virus are found scientists are discovering "more changes" which could increase the infectiousness of coronavirus.

Read more: Brazil's Covid variant a cause for 'concern', Boris Johnson warns

He also warned that they could also "impact on the body's immune response," telling LBC it was vital to "keep an eye on them."

The Professor said that through the course of the coronavirus pandemic the UK has had a "real problem" with border control.

Citing Australia and New Zealand as examples he said Covid could be "stamped out" by "restricting travel."

Watch: Van-Tam says not to worry about vaccines working against new strains

Explaining that many of the infections were "due to people travelling back from abroad."

"I think we need to look really hard at border control."

He said if there was "any hint" that the new strain of Covid was going to be more infectious the Government should "stop people coming from those countries into the UK or at least test them and make sure they isolate for a period."

Lawrence Young from the Warwick University Medical School tells LBC restricting travel is key to stamping out coronavirus.
Lawrence Young from the Warwick University Medical School tells LBC restricting travel is key to stamping out coronavirus. Picture: PA

When Eddie asked if that should be done right away Professor Young said it should be done "absolutely immediately."

The expert said he would not hesitate to restrict travel from both Brazil and Japan he told LBC the country has not been fast enough at dealing with new information.

Read more: UK records 1,564 new Covid-19 deaths in highest-ever daily figure

Read more: Pfizer vaccine 'can protect against UK Covid variant', study suggests

Watch: Travel curbs needed to prevent South Africa variant entering UK - Shapps

Earlier, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said there were concerns about a new strain of coronavirus identified in Brazil.

"We are concerned about the new Brazilian variant," he told MPs.

"We already have tough measures... to protect this country from new infections coming in from abroad.

"We are taking steps to do that in respect of the Brazilian variant."

There remained many questions about the variant, including whether it would be resistant to the vaccines.

"There are lots of questions we still have about that variant, we don't know for instance, any more than we know whether the South African variant is vaccine-resistant."