Coronavirus in Scotland: Scots warned not to 'go wild' as travel restrictions ease for fear South African variant could spread

A vaccine expert has urged people “not to go wild” as restrictions are easing across the country, warning that it could lead to the variant first identified in South Africa becoming “more prevalent”.

Wednesday, 14th April 2021, 11:17 am

Professor Anthony Harnden, deputy chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) told Good Morning Britain that from a vaccine point of view, the South African variant “is of concern.”

“We know from studies that none of the vaccines are as effective against the South African variant,” he said, “though the vaccines still prevent against severe disease and death even with the South African variant.

“The problem is, they may not protect against infection which allows infection to transmit, and if we allow transmission through the community in large numbers with high infection rates then we could see other variants emerging.”

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Crowds enjoying Portobello Beach in Edinburgh over Easter weekend when the 'stay at home' rule became 'stay local' in Scotland picture: Scott Louden

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His statement comes after First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon confirmed, during an unscheduled coronavirus briefing yesterday, that up to six people from six different households can meet outdoors from Friday.

Travel restrictions in the country have also been lifted and Scots can travel anywhere in the country – cross-boarder travel however is still restricted until after 26 April.

Prof Harnden added: “We’ve all been desperate for our freedoms – and it has been great this week when we can get out to the pub gardens and enjoy the outside space – but we must not go wild.

“If we start going wild and completely ignore all the basic rules then we will see more transmission and things like the South African variant will become more prevalent.”

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