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Covid live news: Beta variant may evade vaccines, say experts as UK faces ‘protracted’ period of high infections rates

Beta variant of coronavirus spreading in France may evade vaccines, a scientist involved in advising the UK government has warned

  • Pressure builds on ministers to reach decision on vaccines for children
  • Quarantine to remain for vaccinated UK travellers returning from France
  • See all our coronavirus coverage

Asked about whether full lockdown easing in England could lead to the emergence of a new more dangerous coronavirus variant, professor Mark Woolhouse said.

He told Times Radio:

It could be… but there are literally hundreds of variants around the world.

We don’t know where the next variant of concern, one that will actually threaten public health, will come from.

In anticipation of an end to the Covid-19 pandemic, states and cities across the United States have enjoyed reopening once-shuttered communities for business, leisure, summer festivities and travel as life has returned to near-normal.

However, health officials remain on high alert given one ongoing obstacle to being finished with Covid-19: wide swaths of unvaccinated people in America that could allow the virus to further mutate and potentially spawn more transmissible and increasingly deadly variants.

Related: Unvaccinated could be breeding ground for Covid variants, US officials fear

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