NEW: a new variant with an “extremely high” 32 mutations - but only 10 cases so far - has been identified in South Africa, Botswana and Hong Kong. Thanks to the excellent work of @PeacockFlu who identified it. It’s called B.1.1.529 @theipaper…
It carries mutations associated with vaccine escape and would be extremely concerning if it took off. Most cases are in South Africa, where overall Covid cases are currently rocketing. It is not known whether there is a link - and whether B.1.529 is more transmissible than Delta
One case was a 36-year-old man who travelled from Hong Kong to and from South Africa in the last few weeks. He was routinely isolated in quarantine hotel in HK. I understand HK authorities are aware and are surge testing his apartment block…

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More from @janemerrick23

25 Nov
BREAKING: I understand South Africa will be placed on the U.K. red list due to the rise in cases of the “super variant”
The super-variant B.1.1.529 - expected to be renamed Nu - is the worst variant U.K. health experts have ever seen…
Read 8 tweets
25 Nov
NEW on Nu: UK medical experts are meeting to discuss whether South Africa should face travel restrictions given the very rapid developments on B.1.1.529, as first reported by @theipaper yesterday…
Cases in South Africa are nearing 100, but experts there say there'll be "many more" tomorrow. The WHO's advisory group on variants is holding urgent talks, also Fri, on whether to designate it variant of interest or of concern with the potential label Nu…
Since the 32-mutation variant was first flagged by @PeacockFlu on Tuesday, international efforts have moved rapidly to assess it: whether it's causing rising cases in SA, whether it can evade vaccines. This is how @theipaper broke the story yesterday:…
Read 4 tweets
27 Sep
Key phrase from Rachel Reeves’ speech - “the everyday economy” - has a good ring to it: shifting the economy to one that works for ordinary working people, taxes tech giants, cutting business rates for high street #Lab21
Reeves accuses Chancellor Rishi Sunak of being “missing in action” over the fuel crisis and says “the Tories have lost control”. #lab21
It might be her day to get the headlines but I think Keir Starmer needs to grasp the fuel crisis too today - call on the PM to convene Cobra etc
Read 4 tweets
11 Jun
BREAKING: cases of the India Delta variant have risen from 12431 to 42323 in *a week* - 21 June looking increasingly unlikely
PHE analysis suggests Delta is 60% more transmissible than Kent/Alpha
Please do not shoot the messenger! Thank you in advance
Read 8 tweets
10 Jun
Greg Clark confirms that despite agreeing to at his committee appearance, Dominic Cummings has not provided any evidence to back up his allegations against Matt Hancock in time for today’s hearing, nor has he provided an explanation
Hancock says “no” to question of did he say anything to PM that he knew to be untrue
Did he say people got the treatment they deserved knowing it to be untrue? Says no, he was advised at time that people were getting treatment they deserved
Read 21 tweets
9 Jun
Since reading Gareth Southgate’s Dear England piece, this line - “we are independent thinkers” - has stayed with me. That’s it isn’t it?
We lament division, rightly, when it causes harm but we have always embraced debate, constantly questioning group think. This isn’t unique to England or the U.K. of course, but diversity of opinion has been a common quality of successful political parties, culture, the arts
We’ve always embraced individuality and questioning of authority. It’s why tribal politics makes me - and many others - feel a bit itchy. The MPs I admire the most are those who challenge their own parties’ orthodoxy.
Read 7 tweets

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