Variant cases found in east London, clubbers dance in Liverpool, international travel returns

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Surge testing is being deployed in east London after “several” variant cases of coronavirus were detected in the community.

The Tower Hamlets Council’s website confirmed “a small number” of “variants of concern” that were “first identified in Brazil and South Africa” have been identified in Tower Hamlets and tweeted that ”enhanced Covid-19 testing” will be “offered to residents” beginning on Sunday.

“Something is a variant of concern if it is not known whether it will spread more easily, cause more severe disease, or may not be supported by vaccinations – testing helps us learn more,” the council states.

They are “strongly encouraging” everyone over 11-years-old – in certain areas of Tower Hamlets – to get tested even if they do not have symptoms.

Neither the council or NHS Test and Trace have provided details about the number of variant cases while the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) confirmed all the detected cases “are self-isolating”, and added: “There are no links between these cases and the cluster of cases recently identified in the south London area.”

Two variants of Covid-19 are associated with Brazil. The more serious variant – also called P1 – has been detected in Tower Hamlets. It has mutations that scientists fear may defeat vaccines, as too the South African variant, officially called B.1.351.

Sky News report that 737 cases of B.1.351 and 82 cases of P1 have been discovered in the UK up to April 28.

6,000 maskless clubbers in Liverpool

Meanwhile in Liverpool, thousands of clubbers got to attend a Fatboy Slim gig as part of the government’s Events Research Programme (ERP) – a series of scientific pilot events to get crowds back into venues safely.

It was part two of the UK’s first back-to-back club nights in over a year where revellers do not have to wear masks or practice social distancing. Six thousand people will have attended the Circus  venue over two nights of clubbing.

Liverpool’s Sefton Park will tomorrow (Sunday) play host to the Blossoms gig, set to be the first “near normal” outdoor music concert with the 5,000 ticket holders all requiring to have tested negative for coronavirus. They – like the 6,000 nightclubbers – will be asked to complete another test for Covid-19 in the next days in order to detect and measure any contagion.

Waiting for traffic lights with travel set to resume on May 17

International breaks and holidays are returning with overseas leisure travel expected to be permitted from May 17, as per the government’s roadmap for easing restrictions.

However, would-be vacationers and other travellers remain in the dark as to which countries will require quarantining. The government’s list of countries graded on a traffic light system was expected to be published today (May 1) after the Commons’ transport select committee recommended the green, amber and red lists of destinations be made available by Saturday “at the latest”.

The Department of Transport said the travel details will be made available by “early May”.

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