An Indian Summer in Britain; Name-calling on Virus Variants

An Indian Summer in Britain; Name-calling on Virus Variants

Britain Feels Indian Heat: This is turning out to be an Indian summer in England in all sorts of ways. Bank Holiday on Monday, May 31, turned out to be the hottest day of the year, by England’s standards. It touched all of 24 degrees in parts of London. That in Britain more than qualifies

Mutating Names: It may be some time before British leaders and media begin to speak of the B.1.617.2 variant of the virus as Delta, as named by the WHO. The UK variant has been named Alpha, though it’s not clear whether a new mutation that combines the two variants will be named Alpha-Delta. The South African strain has been renamed Beta. The WHO says this is intended to remove stigma from names. But stigmatising has become popular over the variant from India in the UK. In the current wave, Delta will of course translate into ‘Indian’, if anyone switches to Delta at all. No one has been in a hurry to.

India Supply Squeeze Spurs UK Drug Shortage: Britain is reporting a serious shortfall in supply of essential drugs from India – other than vaccines. About a third of the generic drugs used in Britain come from India. Supplies of these have been drying up as India experiences difficulty with production, and orders diversion of manufactured drugs to meet its own needs. “These drugmakers are already stretched thanks to the pandemic so the supply chain squeeze from India poses a real threat,” Mark Samuels, chief executive of the British Generic Manufacturers Association, told The Telegraph. “They are now on amber alert because of India’s terrible crisis. This situation is a risk to the NHS. Our manufacturers and others in Europe will try to mitigate any disruption, but we are worried.”

Delta Strain Causes Turbulence in Private Travel: The emergence and spread of the Delta variant of the virus in Britain is further tightening private travel. Private jets have been the favoured form of travel to the UK for British citizens and Indians resident in Britain – if of course, they could foot the bill. Prices can vary greatly, but at present, a private jet with about a dozen seats can be sold for around 6,000 dollars an hour of flying, with an additional fee for time on the ground. That could mean a cost of a little above 100,000 dollars for a one-way flight from Mumbai to London. Given the means many have to travel, a cost of 10,000 dollars a ticket for a one-way flight is not as forbidding as one might expect of private air travel. But the rising cases in Britain, and the easing in India, have made it seem less safe than it did some weeks back. This, flight agents say, is restraining this travel path.

Indian Cricketers to Get Family Time: In what must be an immense relief to Indian cricketers, close family members have been cleared to travel to them for the England cricket season. It will be a long season – close to four months for the men. The men’s and women’s teams and their family members will arrive together on a charter flight from Mumbai on June 3. They will stay at the same hotel in Southampton for a start. Then on their activities will be closely managed. “Regular tests will be conducted during the period of isolation,” the ICC says. “Players’ activity will be allowed in a gradually increasing manner after each round of negative testing, moving from exercise in isolation to small group and then larger squad activity, whilst always remaining within the biosecure venue.”

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