It had been the epicenter of the pandemic in Europe since January, and enormous numbers of deaths and hospitalizations overwhelmed a well being care system that had already been overstretched by the primary wave final yr. However the nation now seems to be strolling out of the pandemic, whereas locations like France, Germany and Italy face a 3rd wave of infections.
Nonetheless, there are rising issues that new variants will quickly unfold in Britain, along with the primary found within the nation late final yr — an emergence that led to strict lockdown measures and journey restrictions all over the world.
Neil Ferguson, a former adviser to Mr. Johnson on the pandemic, stated on Friday that he was involved in regards to the unfold in Europe of the variant first found in South Africa.
Early analysis means that the variant, which accounts for a good portion of latest circumstances in nations like France, could weaken the efficacy of some vaccines. That features the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is central to Britain’s inoculation drive.
The pinnacle of England’s Nationwide Well being Service, Simon Stevens, 54, additionally acquired his first injection of the AstraZeneca vaccine this week, as did Prime Minister Jean Castex of France, 55, who flashed a thumbs-up at tv cameras after getting his shot at a navy hospital southeast of Paris.
The almost simultaneous public inoculations of Mr. Johnson and Mr. Castex underscored how public officers in Europe have tried to revive public confidence within the AstraZeneca vaccine, after a number of nations within the European Union, together with France, paused its use this week.
However Britain and France have discovered themselves in very completely different conditions: Britain, which left the European Union final yr, has vaccinated its inhabitants at a extra speedy tempo than France and different nations of the bloc. And British officers have been staunch defenders of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which was developed along with the College of Oxford.