The new strain of corona virus has taken up the toil in many countries. Several European Union nations moved to ban flights from the UK on Sunday; and others were considering similar action, in a bid to block a new strain of the corona virus sweeping; across southern England from establishing a strong foothold on the continent.
France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, and Italy all announced restrictions on UK travel hours after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson; announced that Christmas shopping and gatherings in southern England must be cancelled because of rapidly spreading infections blamed on the new COVID-19 variant.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) tweeted; late on Sunday that it was “in close contact with UK officials on the new #COVID-19 virus variant” and promised to update governments and the public as more is learned.
The new strain was identified in south-eastern England; in September and has been spreading in the area ever since, a WHO official told the BBC on Sunday. Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s the technical lead on COVID-19 said, “What we understand is that it does have increased transmissibility, in terms of its ability to spread.”
Van Kerkhove said the strain had been identified in Denmark, the Netherlands, and Australia, where there was one case that didn’t spread further.
Studies are underway to better understand how fast it spreads and whether “it’s related to the variant itself, or a combination of factors with behaviour,” she added.
She said, “The longer this virus spreads, the more opportunities it has to change. So we really need to do everything we can right now to prevent spread.”
British health authorities said that while the variant; has been circulating since September, it wasn’t until the last week that officials felt they had enough evidence; to declare that it has higher transmissibility than other circulating corona viruses.
Patrick Vallance, the British government’s chief scientist adviser, said officials are concerned about the new variant because it contained 23 different changes, “an unusually large number of variants” affecting how the virus binds to and enters cells in the body. Officials aren’t certain whether it originated in the UK, Vallance said. But by December, he said it was causing 60% of infections in London.
Italy, South Africa also report a new variant. Italy on Sunday said it has detected a new corona virus strain; with mutations in a person who recently returned from the UK. South Africa has also announced that a new variant of the COVID-19; virus is driving the country’s resurgence of the disease, with higher numbers of confirmed cases, hospitalisations, and deaths. According to officials in the country, the new variant, known as 501.V2, is dominant among; new confirmed infections in South Africa’s current wave.