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…
This variant hasn’t been tested against vaccines as takes 2-3 weeks to grow live virus in lab, but the profile makes experts think it will be the same as Beta - which reduced AZ effectiveness to 30% v infection, but Pfizer/Moderna slightly higher…
The key concern with Nu? is that there are also signs of increased transmissibility in SA, whereas Beta was outperformed by Delta…
It’s worth pointing out just how rapidly U.K. ministers and officials have acted against this variant. It was first identified by @PeacockFlu on Tuesday, with UKHSA officials concerned on Tuesday & Wednesday. It was first reported by @theipaper on Wednesday
New data confirmed by SA officials including @Tuliodna today, with WHO saying they were concerned. U.K. Govt red list announcement Thursday - 48 hours after first identified. Quite a contrast with Delta…
Sajid Javid has announced SIX African countries including South Africa will go on the red list from noon tomorrow, flights will be temporarily banned and UK travellers will have to quarantine

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More from @janemerrick23

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
27 May
At the daily Downing St press conference on Sunday 5 April 2020 I tried to ask Jenny Harries, alongside Matt Hancock, what the plan was for testing in care homes. I always remember this because I had to follow up twice to get an answer because she wasn’t completely clear 1/
The answer in the end was they were doing 5 in each setting & where there had been outbreaks. Harries said “we wouldn’t necessarily test everybody”. This sounded odd at the time - this isn’t hindsight - & I kept asking when there would be a plan to do proper testing in care homes
Anyway, if anyone is interested, here is the transcript courtesy of - it’s quite long
Read 4 tweets

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