Omicron's evolution is 'no cause for concern', according to top virologist - 'May not cause symptoms at all!'

Hugh Pennington has questioned whether new travel restrictions on p
Hugh Pennington has questioned whether new travel restrictions on p

Hugh Pennington told GB News that Omicron is milder than previous variants in terms of what it does to people

Published

A LEADING virologist says there is “no cause for concern" despite the fact Omicron has evolved to become more transmissible.

Hugh Pennington also told GB News the new rules on travel impacting those from arriving in the UK via China didn’t appear to make much sense, saying they are “90 per cent about politics, and 10 per cent about public health”.

Mr Pennington told Stephen Dixon: “We should not be particularly concerned because Omicron is milder in terms of what it does to people than previous variants. That’s because it specialises in living in the nose rather than getting down into the lungs and it uses different enzymes.

“Omicron is milder, but it's evolved, and it's evolved to become more transmissible. Those people who get it, may not even know they've been infected. It may not cause any symptoms at all. So, I don't think there's any need for any particular concern. And we have a very good system in the UK for monitoring all these variants and working out whether they're actually going to be variants of concern.”

Asked whether he felt new travel restrictions on people coming in from mainland China were required, Mr Pennington continued: “Do these restrictions make any sense scientifically?

Not really. The most important thing to do with people coming from China is check the proportion of the level infected with another variant.

“There's no particular reason why China should be evolving and getting more nasty variants than anywhere else in the world. We are monitoring people coming from China anyway. As for the travel restrictions, it's really about 10% public health and 90% politics.”

On the need for China to be open with the rest of the world about Covid levels in their country Mr Pennigton added: “It's important for the rest of the world to know. And part of the reason is if a new variant appeared then we might get some evidence from the mortality figures in China.

“The mortality figures in China I'm afraid are probably going to be higher because the main risk group of people who are likely to die from COVID are the elderly. And the elderly in China have not been very keen on taking the vaccine, unlike the elderly in the UK and many other countries.

“Here, people have really been very keen to take the vaccine, which has got very good results and protects the community at large. But in China the elderly were very poorly immunised against the virus in terms of having active immunisation. So it's a very sad situation in China.”