‘Stunning’ drop in sequencing of PCR tests to track Covid variants
Potential Covid variants enter the UK unchecked as the rate of positive tests takes place genome sequence Of the countries included in the amber list, it has fallen to only three percent, according to official figures.
The analysis shows that only 44 – or three per cent – of the 1,388 positive test results on people who arrived from amber countries in the three weeks to June 30 have their genomes sequenced to identify variants. That compared to 61 percent in the three weeks to March 17.
There was a similar drop even for travelers returning from Red List countries – including South Africa, South America and India where three of the variants first appeared.
Official data, analyzed by the House of Commons Library, showed that the proportion of positive tests from Red List countries that had been sequenced fell from 65 per cent to 13 per cent over the same period.
The revelation comes when it turns out that travelers to and from the UK have paid £380m for expensive PCR tests in the past six months, presumably so that the government can track the variants. The ability to sequence genome samples from PCR tests was to check for variants Ministers use it as the main reason to demand travelers pay for itEven if they are fully vaccinated.
Leila Morin, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Coronavirus, which commissioned the research, said the numbers were “staggering” at a time when concerns about the beta version led to tough new quarantine restrictions on France.
“The emergence of a beta species in neighboring countries should sound alarm bells in the government. But instead, ministers are dismantling our defenses against the virus and opening the door to new variables,” she said.
“It appears that vital lessons have not yet been learned from the failure to prevent the delta variant from taking hold in the UK. The government must urgently fix this scandal and ramp up the sequencing of test results, before the more dangerous Covid variants creep through the network.
Karen Dee, chief executive of the Airport Operators Association, said: “It is hard to understand why the government is now not tidying up results, while still expecting people to pay for the more expensive test.
“If sequencing is no longer important, cheaper rapid tests should replace expensive travel PCR tests.”