'Better border control is essential to protect vaccine rollout', health expert says

2 February 2021, 20:53

Public Health Expert: Border control needs to be stricter

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

A public health expert has told LBC better border control is needed in order to help stem the spread of Covid and protect the vaccine program.

Oksana Pyzik lead on the outbreak of infectious diseases for University College London's global citizenship programme told LBC at times it seemed the UK has been "three steps behind" when it comes to tackling Covid.

The UCL School of Pharmacy lecturer told LBC's Iain Dale that a co-ordinated approach across all four of the UK's nations would help.

She said with the success of the country's vaccination program it was vital that this was not put at risk "by allowing further community transmission."

Ms Pyzik highlighted the new Covid strains which have now developed warning they "could put us back at square one."

Telling LBC that "better border control" would help protect the vaccination program, Mr Pyzik said this will help lead to the easing of the lockdown.

The conversations comes as doorstep testing gets underway in eight areas of England to find cases of Covid-19 caused by the South African variant, experts said some samples of the Kent variant are now also showing the E484K mutation.

The South African and Brazilian variants of coronavirus also contain the E484K mutation, which has been shown to reduce the effectiveness of vaccines in preventing people from contracting Covid-19.

Professor Paul Hunter explains: Will Kent mutation evade immunity?

A spokesperson for Public Health England told LBC that the agency has "identified 11 cases of the Variant of Concern VOC202012/01, which genomic sequencing has shown to feature the spike protein mutation E484K, predominantly situated within the South West.

“PHE is monitoring the situation closely and all necessary public health interventions are being undertaken, including enhanced contact tracing and control measures.”

Ever since the new coronavirus first appeared in Wuhan, China, in 2019, it has mutated thousands of times resulting in countless variants.

Scientists say it is quite common for viruses to mutate and more often than not, these mutations are harmless.