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Covid Delta variant 'will hunt down anyone who's not had jab' due to 'the nature' of the more transmissible strain, UK scientific advisers warn

  The Covid Delta variant will 'hunt down' people who remain unvaccinated,   Downing Street   has been warned by its scientific advi...

 The Covid Delta variant will 'hunt down' people who remain unvaccinated, Downing Street has been warned by its scientific advisers.

No 10 has been told that 'such is the nature' of the more transmissible variant that it is 'almost inevitable' it will eventually infect anyone who has not received both jabs.

The development comes as former Health Secretary Matt Hancock today makes his first intervention in the media since resigning from the Cabinet earlier this year.

Writing in today's Mail on Sunday, Mr Hancock hails the fact that more than four out of five over-16s have now had both doses of a vaccine but fiercely criticises anti-vax campaigners.

'Unbelievably, there is still a persistent yet thankfully small and shrinking group of people determined to try to stop this progress,' he writes. 'In all my time in public life, I have never come across a group so blinkered and dangerous as the anti-vaxxers.'

As it was revealed last night that two of the professional dancers on the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing have refused to be vaccinated, he writes: 'I applaud those who have come forward to get their jab in a very public way. Whether Sir Elton John, David Walliams or Gareth Southgate, so many celebrities have stood up to help in our national effort… For every hesitant person who has been taken in by the lies of the anti-vaxxers, far more have been persuaded by the clear, objective facts published by the medics.'

Officials at the Department of Health yesterday said they expected that the proportion of over-16s to have at least one dose of a vaccine to pass 90 per cent by the end of the week. It stands at 89.3 per cent (48.5 million) with 81.6 per cent (44.4 million) fully jabbed.

In other developments:

  • The number of positive tests fell 20.4 per cent over the past seven days to 30,144, with hospital admissions down 4.7 per cent to 932. Deaths rose 2 per cent week-on-week to 164;
  • Holiday bookings soared past pre-pandemic levels after the Government lifted a raft of travel restrictions, including – as the MoS had predicted last weekend – the need for expensive PCR tests;
  • Two City law firms are demanding that staff are fully vaccinated before they return to their London offices;
  • The NHS said 1.5 million invitations to book a Covid booster jab will be sent out via text message or letter this week;
  • The Lancet medical journal bowed to pressure over its much criticised coverage of the disputed origins of the Covid pandemic by publishing an 'alternative view' from 16 scientists calling for an 'objective, open and transparent debate' about whether the virus leaked from a Chinese laboratory;
  • Match of the Day pundit and MoS columnist Danny Murphy revealed he has coronavirus, but said he was 'thankful' for being fully vaccinated. It emerged, meanwhile, that the personal finance guru and prominent anti-vaxxer Alan Steel had died from the virus;
  • Thousands of anti-vaxxers marched on Downing Street while police in the Australian city of Melbourne – which has been locked down for 228 days - were forced to use pepper spray when anti-lockdown rioters stormed the streets;
  • India delivered 25 million vaccine doses in a single 24-hour period that coincided with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's birthday.

Speaking about the risk of the Delta – or Indian – variant to the unvaccinated, a Government source said: 'The nature of this virus is such that if it carries on evolving and adapting in this way, it is almost inevitable that someone who has not had the jabs will eventually be infected.'

The rollout of inoculations for children aged 12 to 15 is due to begin on Wednesday despite the reservations of some scientists.

Professor Adam Finn, a member of the Government's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, said scientists did not have the 'luxury' of time to research the possible risks.

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