Boris admits fears over ‘vaccine-busting’ mutant strains as PM slams UK borders shut

Boris Johnson announces closure of travel corridors

Borders have been shut as part of emergency measures to protect Britain from new variants of the virus found abroad. Speaking at a No10 coronavirus briefing this evening, the Prime Minister said: “We’ve made such progress with the vaccine, what we don’t want to see is that hard work undone by a new variant that is vaccine-busting, as it were.”

Terrifying new variants of Covid, which are significantly more transmissible that the original strain of the virus, have been located in South Africa and Brazil.

Just before Christmas flights to and from South Africa were suspended to try and keep the strain out of the UK.

Another strain from Brazil was discovered earlier this week, with the Government taking action to ban flights from the country and most other South American nations.

Tonight Mr Johnson went further by shutting travel corridors in a bid to protect Britain.

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Anyone arriving into Britain from 4am on Monday will be required to have proof of a negative Covid test 72 hours prior to travel and must immediately isolate on arrival.

Over 3.2million people across the UK have now been vaccinated, including almost 45 percent of over-80s, and almost 40 percent of care home residents.

However, if a new variant arrives in the UK before herd immunity is developed through inoculation, it could evolve to be resistant to the vital Pfizer and AstraZeneca jabs currently being rolled out.

The Prime Minister said: “It is vital to take these extra measures now when day by day, hour by hour, we are making such strides in protecting the population.

“We have now vaccinated over 3.2 million people across the UK, doubling the numbers of last week.

“That’s 2.8 million in England, 225,000 in Scotland, 126,000 in Wales and 115,000 in Northern Ireland.

“Yesterday alone, we vaccinated around a quarter of a million people in England, and that is still far more than any other country in Europe.”

The progress means the NHS is set to surpass its target of vaccinating the 13 million most vulnerable Brits by February 15.

Praising those involved in the jab’s rollout, Mr Johnson added: “It’s thanks to that amazing constellation of the vaccination teams: doctors and nurses, armed forces, local authorities, pharmacies and volunteers that we are steadily building up that immunity, that protection for the vulnerable, for the NHS and for us all.”

More to follow…

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