London, Aug 14 (efe-epa) .- The United Kingdom has signed agreements for the additional purchase of 90 million doses of two vaccines against Covid-19 that are still in the experimentation stages, the government said on Friday.
The vaccines are being developed by the Belgian pharmaceutical company Janssen and United States biotechnology company Novavax.
In total the UK has secured the purchase of six vaccines that are being tested around the world, including that of the University of Oxford, in collaboration with the pharmaceutical AstraZeneca, which is in phase three, the last one it must complete before authorities can approve it.
With the new agreements, the country ensures 340 million doses of vaccines, with the hopes that some of them could be effective and ready to be supplied to the population.
The UK has signed contracts for the purchase of 100 million doses of the vaccine from Oxford, 30 million from Janssen, 30 million from BioNTech / Pfizer, 60 million from Valneva, 60 million from GSK / Sanofi and 60 million from Novavax.
Kate Bingham, head of the UK government’s Working Group on the Vaccine, said Friday that it is a priority to ensure that there are enough doses for the groups “most at risk from coronavirus infection”.
Business minister Alok Sharma said the government’s strategy is to have a portfolio of “candidate” vaccines to ensure the UK has “the best chance of finding one that works”.
The contracts were made public after the government announced Thursday night the imposition of a 14-day quarantine as of Saturday for those returning from France and the Netherlands, due to an increase of Covid infections in those countries.
The UK has also imposed an isolation period for travelers from Malta, Monaco, Turks and Caicos Islands and Aruba, a measure that will come into force on Saturday.
France, the main tourist destination country for the British, has registered high numbers of daily coronavirus cases.
At the end of July, the British government implemented a 14-day quarantine on travelers from Spain after a rise of infections in that country.
The UK reported 18 coronavirus deaths on Thursday, bringing the total of fatalities since the pandemic started to 41,347.
From Saturday, beauty centers in the country will be able to open and wedding receptions will be authorized with a small number of guests in England, as part of ongoing relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions.
The de-escalation is advancing at different speeds in different parts of the UK, as some areas have imposed lockdowns when new local outbreaks were reported.
Fears of a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic are growing in Europe as cases are rising in Germany, France, Spain and the UK, which in recent days have had a virus expansion rate of over 1,000 positives a day. EFE/EPA