Boris Johnson warns 'we must be very wary' of 'distinct' third Covid wave – and 'concerning' variants

BORIS Johnson today warned Brits must be "very wary" of a "distinct" third Covid wave travelling from Europe to Britain.

The Prime Minister urged the nation to be "realistic" as he said rising infection rates across the continent "will wash up on our shores".

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Speaking during a Downing Street briefing to mark one year on from the first Covid lockdown, Mr Johnson said "we are seeing distinct signs of a third wave".

He told journalists: "Yes indeed, we must be very wary of the potential for a third wave, as Chris has just said sadly.

"We're seeing on the European continent, we are seeing distinct signs of a third wave, and they're taking steps to abate that, to deal with that."

He later added: "We must be realistic, there is another wave building in Israel on the European continent, amongst our friends, we will see it wash onto our shores."


It comes as cases soar across Europe – with a significant number of infections made up of the Kent variant.

Others are said to be from South Africa.

When asked how we can stop new variants entering Britain, Mr Johnson said: "We in the UK have very tough measures that our board has already, including mandatory tests for anybody who comes here you have to get a passenger locator form you get fined £200 if you fail to fill one in."

He added: "I want to be clear with the public we keep all these measures are under review, insofar as it's necessary to take extra measures to protect this country against new variants variants of concern, of course."

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) has urged the Government to take a cautious approach amid the surge in infections – but has not called for a change to Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown, it was reported at the weekend.

Meanwhile Professor of infectious disease epidemiology Andrew Hayward has warned the UK needs to be "careful" as it releases lockdown measures as the rise in infections across Europe could last "several months".

He told Times Radio that it was "very worrying" for Europe to be moving into a "third wave" of coronavirus cases with "comparatively low vaccination levels".

Speaking to the station in a personal capacity, Professor Hayward added: "From what I understand, quite a lot of that is the emergence of the strain that came from the UK, the B117 strain, which is more transmissible, which is the same strain that's still here now.


"I think it just shows that the lockdown in the UK is necessary and we need to be careful as we release and to watch the figures because this shows the potential for cases to shoot up.

"Obviously it has implications on travel, I think, and what we plan for doing with that, because these waves of infection will tend to last for several months really before they get back down to low levels.

"But unless there's much travel between the countries it shouldn't directly impact us."

At the moment Brits are banned from travelling abroad during the current lockdown.

On March 23 last year, Boris Johnson ordered the first lockdown as the virus took hold, with shops and hospitality completely shut and gatherings banned. Over 126,000 people have since died during the pandemic. 

Today, the PM said the year that followed had taken a “huge toll on us all”, and stood out as “one of the most difficult in our country's history”.

He added: “We should also remember the great spirit shown by our nation over this past year.”

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