Cases of the highly-transmissible B.1617.2 ‘variant of concern’ have shot up from 520 to 1,313 this week, according to data released by Public Health England (PHE) on Thursday.
Surge testing has been deployed in some areas as PHE said cases were ‘rising in the community’.
Appearing on today’s Good Morning Britain, doctor Amir urged the public to act with caution, and stick to to the restrictions currently in place.
When host Kate Garraway asked if he thought that local restrictions could be announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, he replied: ‘To be honest with you Kate, I do think that might be coming for those people in areas like Bolton, who have experienced more weeks of lockdown than many other parts of the UK.
‘Boris Johnson said yesterday that he’s not ruling out local restrictions and economical restrictions as well, so he’s certainly setting a precedent in saying this is likely to be coming. I think the key here is is about getting people to adhere to the restrictions that are in place right now.’
Discussing the rise in cases, the GP explained that the data suggested this was due to ‘household transmission’, stating that it is ‘really, really important’ that the cycle is broken.
‘Vaccinations is part of it, it may be that local restrictions are put in place. What they look like, we don’t know yet,’ Dr Amir continued. ‘But Boris Johnson hasn’t ruled it out. But he’s also said that the roadmap out of these restrictions for the rest of the country is still going ahead as planned.
‘It’s a tricky one because we know that these local restrictions, and restrictions across the country, have had a significant impact on people’s mental health and physical health throughout the pandemic.
‘Numbers are down overall, we don’t want to scare people. Numbers are certainly much lower. Monday is the biggest test of all the things that we’ve done so far to protect ourselves.
‘I would urge caution with everyone, but in terms of my professional opinion, I am worried. We’re expecting to see an increase in cases, but I don’t think that will translate into the same number of hospital admissions and deaths because of the success of the vaccine.’
While the health expert explained it is ‘concerning’, he insisted that there isn’t any evidence ‘that the new variant gives you more a severe disease, or that it evades the vaccine’.
Dr Amir added that it’s ‘all about getting the populations vaccinated’.
Good Morning Britain continues on weekdays, at 6am, on ITV.
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