UK expert warns of third Covid-19 wave as another 3,383 cases reported

Another 3,383 people in Britain have tested positive for Covid-19, bringing the total to 4,487,339.
Another 3,383 people in Britain have tested positive for Covid-19, bringing the total to 4,487,339.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

LONDON (XINHUA) - A British government advisory scientist warned on Monday (May 31) that Britain could be in the early stages of a third Covid-19 wave as the country reported another 3,383 cases.

Professor Ravi Gupta, from the University of Cambridge, said that although new cases were "relatively low", the variant first detected in India had fuelled "exponential growth".

"Of course the numbers of cases are relatively low at the moment - all waves start with low numbers of cases that grumble in the background and then become explosive, so the key here is that what we are seeing here are the signs of an early wave," he told the BBC.

However, he said the progress of the vaccine roll-out in Britain meant this wave would probably take longer to emerge than previous ones.

"There may be a false sense of security for some time, and that's our concern," said Prof Gupta, a member of the government's New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag).

The plan to end coronavirus restrictions in England on June 21 should be postponed, he said.

"If you look at the costs and benefits of getting it wrong, I think it is heavily in favour of delay, so I think that's the key thing."

Another 3,383 people in Britain have tested positive for Covid-19, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 4,487,339, according to official figures released on Monday.

The country also reported another coronavirus-related death. The total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain now stands at 127,782. This number comprises only those who died within 28 days of their first positive test.

Meanwhile, the cases of the Covid-19 variant first detected in India have doubled in a week in England to almost 7,000, prompting concerns that the British government's lockdown road map will be derailed.

From May 17, pubs, bars and restaurants in England were permitted to open indoors, while indoor entertainment resumed, including cinemas, museums and children's play areas.

People were also allowed to travel abroad to a number of green-list countries without having to quarantine upon return as the ban on foreign travel has also been lifted.

The British government's road map is expected to see all legal limits on social contact removed on June 21. It is understood that a final decision on the planned easing of lockdown will not be made until June 14.

More than 39.3 million people, about three-quarters of adults in Britain, have been given the first jab of the coronavirus vaccine, according to the latest official figures.

Experts have warned that the coronavirus may continue to evolve for years to come, and eventually it is likely current vaccines will fail to protect against transmission, infection, or even against disease caused by newer variants.

To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Russia and the United States as well as the European Union have been racing against time to roll out coronavirus vaccines.