Mask-wearing and social distancing should become part of “the life to come”, says a Special Envoy on Covid for the World Health Organisation (WHO). Dr David Nabarro told Sky News that restrictive measures should stay in place because it is “inevitable” that new Covid variants will be able to “break through the vaccine-related protection in a few people”.
Sky News has more.
[Dr Nabarro’s comments come] as India said on Tuesday that the new “Delta plus” variant recently discovered in the country is of concern and that nearly two dozen cases had been detected in three states.
Speaking to Sky News, Dr Nabarro said the “issue of variants is what we are watching all over the world” and they “are going to go on coming”.
“We will go from Delta to Lambda and then on to the other Greek letters, that’s inevitable, and some of these variants will be troublesome,” he said.
“They will be able to break through the vaccine-related protection in a few people and that will cause problems.”
He added: “I’m basically saying variants are going to go on coming. That’s part of life, we need to pick them up fast, we need to move quickly if we see them in a certain location, we need to build the management of variants into what we call our Covid-ready strategy, which is going to be the pattern for the foreseeable future.”
Due to new strains, Mr Nabarro suggested that mask-wearing and keeping apart would still be necessary for areas of high infection.
He said there was a need to “maintain defences against the virus to stop it welling up more and more, and that’s going to be the life to come, at least until there’s enough vaccine, and enough certainty, to be sure that vaccination will protect us. Right now we can’t say that.”
Dr Nabarro said we will have to continue social distancing as well as using vaccines “as part of our defence” against Covid, particularly in virus hotspots.
Reports this morning suggest that guidelines on face masks and distancing could be dropped on July 19th because of the slowdown in Covid infections. Earlier this month, however, a top Government adviser and long-time member of the Communist Party of Britain said they should stay in place “forever”, not only for Covid but also “to reduce other [diseases]”.
The Sky News report is worth reading in full.