Britain’s fight when Delta variants flooded the country this spring was hampered by two major flaws that were repeatedly flagged as concerns by scientific advisers. Me Can be clarified.
Samples of cotton swabs taken from travelers arriving in the country in March and April could not be inspected because they had no contractual relationship with a private company to be inspected by the Public Health England (PHE).
And those who travel from countries on the amber list and live with people who needed to be quarantined at home (including India until April 23) can go to work and mix with others. It’s done. According to experts, this loophole meant that home quarantine was “ineffective.”
Both issues were raised as concerns by scientists and other experts on Nervtag, a government advisory board that monitors viruses. Ministers did not act on household quarantine issues. Insiders say the problem helped fuel the highly contagious variant.
According to one source, Delta will eventually dominate Britain, as it does on almost every continent, but the flaw is “similar to giving a thief a house key.”
Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: “Despite repeated warnings, Tory ministers showed Delta the red carpet instead of the Red List.”
The first issue of access to the PHE sample was reported to the Minister by Nervtag on April 16th, but was still an issue in July, almost three months later.
This means that PHE Labs could not sequence the samples to detect the presence of new variants containing Delta’s official label, B1617.2.
At the April 16 meeting, members of Nervtag, including leading epidemiologist Professor Niall Ferguson, said: And the fact that India is not on the Red List. “
PHE also raised the issue that “the sequence of international travelers is carried out by a private provider where PHE does not have a contractual link”. This means that test swab samples from arrival in the UK cannot be analyzed for new variants. Nervtag agreed, “I felt that PHE and others should have access to these samples.”
However, three months later, in July, Nervtag said, “There was concern that it would continue to be difficult to obtain original patient samples for culturing and characterization of newly imported mutants.” I was told.
In the second home quarantine, Nervtag was triggered on May 14, late March and early April, by staff who went to work despite being legally part of the family under the rules of the time. I was informed about the outbreak of a care home. Quarantine at home after recently returning from India.
The issue was repeatedly raised by the Department of Health, but Nervtag was unresponsive until mid-June, five weeks after it was first raised. India was Red Listed on April 23, with all travelers staying in hotel quarantine for 10 days, while other amber-listed countries maintained their policy.
Yvette Cooper, chairman of the Commons Interior Committee, said: Public Health England is denied important information about new variants at the crucial moment of the pandemic because the tests and sequences were done by private contractors, which is shocking and shocking. It shows a real failure in the private contract arrangement. “
She added that it was a “concern” that the advice seemed to be ignored before the vaccine was deployed.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health said:
“Our strong borders and testing regimes help minimize the risk of new variants coming to the UK and protect the general public.
“The United Kingdom is a world leader in genomics, with over 800,000 positive Covid-19 samples sequenced for mutants during this pandemic, and NHS tests and traces of viable positive samples received from Redlist countries. Situate 100% and 96% from amber and greenlist countries. “
Most of the tests conducted by people returning from amber and greenlist countries have been processed by private providers, and these companies are obliged to order the cotton swabs of travelers, according to Whitehall sources. And got a positive result. “We are working closely with the sector to ensure that they are fulfilling this obligation,” sources said.