As London and the entire South East of the UK was plunged into a fresh lockdown over the weekend, scores of countries have banned all travel to and from the UK, but scientists there are demanding to see any evidence that there is a 70% more contagious mutant strain of COVID, having not been shown anything by the government.
The Daily Mail reports that Carl Heneghan, Professor of Evidence Based Medicine at Oxford University’s Nuffield Department of Primary Care, has expressed scepticism over the 70 per cent figure.
“I’ve been doing this job for 25 years and I can tell you can’t establish a quantifiable number in such a short time frame,” Heneghan said.
“Every expert is saying it’s too early to draw such an inference,” the professor added.
“I would want to have very clear evidence rather than ‘we think it’s more transmissible’ so we can see if it is or not,” Heneghan continued.
“It has massive implications, it’s causing fear and panic, but we should not be in this situation when the Government is putting out data that is unquantifiable,” the professor further urged.
“They are fitting the data to the evidence. They see cases rising and they are looking for evidence to explain it,” Heneghan declared.
The ‘mutant strain’ has been circulating since September, according to the government, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson using it to justify literally canceling Christmas.
However, Professor Heneghan emphasised that if this strain really is that much more contagious “we should be locking down the whole country”.
Within minutes of Johnson making the announcement that London and the South East would be locked down at midnight on Saturday, thousands of people crammed into train stations in an attempt to escape to other parts of the country.
While people in London are unable to travel, hundreds of flights from everywhere continued to land at and take off from the city’s airports over the weekend.
The data the government has on the ‘new strain’ off COVID comes from analysis by advisory body The New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag).
No one has seen the data, with the Prime Minster noting it is “early data, “subject to review” but “It’s the best we have at the moment.”