New UK Covid variant may be 30% more deadly, says Johnson

The new UK coronavirus variant may be 30% more deadly, Boris Johnson said on Friday as he warned of stricter travel curbs and continued lockdown measures while the infection rate remains “forbiddingly high”.

In findings that dampened hopes of the increasingly prevalent B117 variant becoming less lethal over time, researchers on the government’s New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag) concluded that it may increase the death rate by 30%-40%.

Scientists urged tighter controls, and one said the news could take the country “back to square one”. It is also likely to increase the concerns of EU leaders, who were already considering strengthening border measures against the “British mutation”.

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