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Snippets from UK: Stoked by B.1.617.2 Strain, Britain's Covid Cases Nearly Double in a Week

Representational pic

Representational pic

From Sanjay Bhandari's extradition case getting pushed to the side effects of successful vaccination, a roundup of what's making news today.

Covid Cases Near 7,000 in UK: Before anyone knew it, the number of Covid cases in Britain have jumped up to touch almost 7,000 (6,959 to be precise), nearly doubling in a week. Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said that about 75 per cent of these are cases of infection with the B.1.617.2 variant. The numbers are a startling confirmation of how fast this strain can spread, even if limited to clusters as of now. Hancock had said earlier this was more transmissible than the earlier UK variant, and that itself was more transmissible than the one before. Hancock said the rise had been expected given also the easing of the lockdown. But this pattern of rise could rule out a full easing of the lockdown due June 21 if it persists. It also emerged that of the 49 in hospital with Covid in the northern city of Bolton, five had had a double dose of vaccination.

Sanjay Bhandari’s Extradition Case Deferred: The Sanjay Bhandari extradition case has been pushed along the calendar to a date later in the year, as expected. The hearings in his case were due to begin on June 7. Bhandari seemed clearly not to have wanted an early hearing, and the government seemed not ready with its case either. Further submissions were due from the government but at the eleventh hour, there was little to submit. October now seems the earliest the case will be heard – if Covid permits, and if the government is ready with its case, and if Bhandari is ready with his defence.

India Promising Market for Disruptive Cyber Technologies: A survey by the consultancy group KPMG shows that India is just as promising a market as China for developing disruptive cyber technologies. Its 2020 Global Technology Industry Innovation Survey, however, places both India and China behind the US. The survey by KPMG finds that Indian youth are particularly adept at developing such disruptive technologies. Within India, Bengaluru and Mumbai have been found unsurprisingly to be the leading hubs for such development.

Vaccination Drive May Cause Virus to Do ‘Weird Things’: The mass vaccination drive in Britain, as elsewhere, could lead to new dangers as a result of its very success, a leading virologist has warned. Super mutant viruses may emerge as vaccinations spread, Prof Ravi Gupta, professor of clinical microbiology at the University of Cambridge, said at a press briefing. The virus, he said, will “do some weird things”. He described the B.1.617.2 variant from India as “just the beginning”. The more pressure the virus is under, the more efficient it will become in transmission, he said.

RELATED NEWS

Boost for Pandemic Research: A new Pandemic Sciences Centre being set up at the University of Oxford promises to emerge as a major platform spanning research at the centre and production in India. The centre aims to bring together “academic excellence, industry and public health organisations”. The Serum Institute of India is already a major centre for the production of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The SII is also now branching out into its own research ventures, in India and Britain.

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first published:May 28, 2021, 21:51 IST