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More than eight in 10 adults now have antibodies against Covid-19.


MORE than eight in 10 adults in most parts of the UK are now likely to have Covid-19 antibodies, new figures suggest.

The estimates range from 88.7% of adults in Wales to 85.4% of adults in Northern Ireland and 86.6% in England. In Scotland the estimate is slightly lower, at just under eight in 10 adults, or 79.1%.

The presence of coronavirus antibodies suggests someone has had the infection in the past or has been vaccinated.

It takes between two and three weeks after infection or vaccination for the body to make enough antibodies to fight the virus.

Antibodies then remain in the blood at low levels, although these levels can decline over time to the point that tests can no longer detect them.

The latest estimates are from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and are based on a sample of blood test results for the week beginning June 7.

The estimates are for people in private households and do not include settings such as hospitals and care homes.

In England, the latest estimate of 86.6% adults is up from 76.4% a month ago, while in Wales the estimate of 88.7% is up from 76.7%.

The ONS said there is a clear pattern between vaccination and testing positive for Covid-19 antibodies, but the detection of antibodies alone is not a precise measure of the immunity protection given by vaccination.

Once infected or vaccinated, the length of time antibodies remain at detectable levels in the blood is not fully known.

It is also not yet known how having detectable antibodies, now or at some time in the past, affects the chance of getting Covid-19 again.

In Wales, the highest proportion of adults likely to have tested positive for antibodies was the 70 to 74 age group (98.4%) followed by 65 to 69 (98.0%), while in Scotland the highest percentage was for people aged 65 to 69 (97.3%) followed by 70 to 74-yearolds (96.3%).

In Northern Ireland, the ONS uses different age groups due to small sample sizes, and estimates that 95.7% of people aged 70 and over were likely to have tested positive for antibodies in the week beginning June 7.

Meanwhile, Matt Hancock confirmed ministers are "working on" plans for quarantine-free overseas trips - but the travel sector has slammed the UK Government's handling of the pandemic.

The Health Secretary said the Government is looking at how to scrap the requirement for people to isolate for 10 days on their return from an amber list country.

He claimed he is "in favour of moving forward in this area" and replacing quarantine with daily testing.

""his hasn't been clinically advised yet - we're working on it," he told Sky News.

Asked if these plans could be in place as soon as August, Mr Hancock said: "We'll get there when it's safe to do so."

T" he Sun reported that the plans for quarantine-free travel would include unvaccinated children travelling with parents who have had both doses of a coronavirus jab.

Andrew Flintham, managing director of Tui, claimed Whitehall "does not understand" how the travel sector works. He told a conference organised by travel trade association Abta it is "inexplicable" that destinations such as Malta, the Greek islands and the Balearic islands are on the amber list.

Mr Flintham warned that many travel companies are "perilously close to failing", adding that "every week that goes by just pushes those people closer to that very sad outcome".

Amid claims that the Government's restrictions are based on political rather than health motives, Abta boss Mark Tanzer urged ministers to "put aside any misguided prejudices against outbound travel".

He said that the amount of state support given to travel firms is "way behind" what has happened in other countries.

Mr Tanzer issued a "heartfelt plea for political change", stating that the sector is not content to be "a political orphan", and calling for the creation of a dedicated minister with responsibility for the industry.
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 23, 2021
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