New Coronavirus strain in UK poses risk to global efforts
While countries across the globe are still struggling to contain the rising cases of COVID-19, a new mutant strain of novel Coronavirus is threatening the ongoing efforts to combat the pandemic.On December 19, England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty announced that a new variant of Coronavirus has been identified in the UK which is spreading faster across the country. He also confirmed that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has been alerted about the fast-spread nature of the new COVID-19 variant. It is said to be 70 percent more infectious than other virus strains, triggering the British government to impose an unprecedented lockdown in the country.
As per media reports, 60 percent of the new cases in London are being caused by the fast-moving new variant. On Sunday, British Health Minister Matt Hancock warned that the new Coronavirus strain is out of control, adding that cases have rocketed. “The situation was deadly serious. It is going to be very difficult to keep it under control until we have the vaccine rolled out,” Hancock said.
It has been reportedly identified in part of the UK and other European countries along with Australia and South Africa.As per media reports, the new variant was first discovered by British scientists in a patient in September. However, it has gradually spread across various parts of the United Kingdom in recent weeks, raising alarming concerns for the government’s efforts to fight the pandemic.
Britain’s Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance has asserted that COVID-19 vaccines appear to be helpful in generating immunity to the new strain of Sars-CoV-2 virus. However, scientists in the UK are currently studying the new variant to understand its effectiveness to vaccines, its mutations and other factors.UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was forced to reimpose stay-at-home restrictions as he urged citizens to cancel their Christmas get-togethers due to the new virus strain.
In view of the latest developments, countries across the world have started to close their borders and suspend flights for passengers travelling from the UK in order to curb the spread of the mutant strain. Countries like Italy, Germany, India, Belgium and Netherlands among other have banned incoming travel from Britain. At the same time, Germany has also restricted flights coming from South Africa.With countries announcing flight bans, Boris Johnson is set to chair an emergency response meeting to discuss the situation of international travel.Top US health officials have also declared that authorities are looking into the virus variant, it appears to be highly prolific.