Italian health expert criticises UK for "keeping quiet" about new COVID strain 9 months ago

Italian health expert criticises UK for "keeping quiet" about new COVID strain

"They kept quiet and didn’t warn us."

An Italian health expert has criticised the UK's slow response to a new strain of Covid-19, saying it could force Italy to renege on plans to send children back to school on January 7th.

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“What makes me angry is that the English already knew the variation was circulating in September,” said Walter Ricciardi, President of the Italian National Institute of Health and virus expert.

“They kept quiet and didn’t warn us. Now we need a lockdown, or at least very severe restrictions."

British prime minister Boris Johnson announced new 'Tier 4' restrictions in London and the south east of England, the epicentre of the new, super contagious strain of the coronavirus.

Today, the PM chaired a cobra meeting and will soon hold a press conference, disclosing new information regarding travel rules.

As many as 40 countries are now banning travel from the UK after the news of the new strain.

Professor Ricciardi said: "At Christmas we risk a new spike in infections."

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An Italian couple who returned from the UK to Rome in recent days have been identified as suffering from the new strain that has emerged in England.

Italy have already imposed severe restrictions over Christmas and New Year in a bid to suppress cases but may now need to implement another lockdown due to the UK's tardiness with regard to dealing with the new strain of the virus.