Professor Sir Mark Walport, former chief scientific adviser to the Government, said that while most of the vulnerable population are now protected, there are still 37 million people who have not been immunised.
He added: “We are a bit concerned about the variants that may be less susceptible to the effects of the vaccine, and certainly in parts of Europe the South African variant has the prevalence of around somewhere around 5% in some parts.Vaccines are very good news. And we know that most of the vulnerable population is protected. And we also know that increasingly the vaccines reduce the transmission, and even milder disease.
Asked whether the Government should stop people travelling abroad, or make it difficult by enforcing quarantine after travel, he said: “I think this has to be driven by the data.
“Certainly at the moment many countries in Europe have got case numbers that are going up – there is 36,000 cases a day in France, 16,000 in Germany, 22,000 in Italy. The numbers speak for themselves.”