Several European Union nations moved to ban flights from the United Kingdom on Sunday and others were considering similar action, in a tender to block a new strain of the coronavirus 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 shuttle, hours after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that Christmas shopping and gatherings in southern England will have to be cancelled as a result of hastily spreading infections blamed on the new coronavirus variant.
The World Health Association (WHO) tweeted late on Saturday that it was once “in near contact with UK officials on the new #Covid19 virus variant” and promised to update governments and the public as more is learned.
The new strain was once identified in southeastern England in September and has been spreading in the area ever since, a WHO official told the BBC on Sunday. “What we understand is that it does have increased transmissibility, on the subject of its ability to spread,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical lead on Covid-19.
Van Kerkhove said the strain had been identified in Denmark, the Netherlands and Australia, where there was once one case that didn’t spread further.
Studies are under way to better know the way fast it spreads and if “it’s related to the variant itself, or a combination of factors with behaviour,” she added.
“The longer this virus spreads, the more opportunities it has to change,” she said. “So we in point of fact wish to do everything we will be able to presently to prevent spread.”
British health authorities said that while the variant has been circulating since September, it wasn’t until the final week that officials felt they had enough evidence to declare that it has higher transmissibility than other circulating coronaviruses.
Patrick Vallance, the British government’s chief scientific adviser, said officials are concerned approximately 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 sure if it originated in the United Kingdom, Vallance added. But by December, he said it was once causing over 60% of infections in London.
Italy, South Africa also outline new variant
Italy on Sunday said it has detected a new coronavirus strain with mutations in a person who recently returned from the United Kingdom. “The patient and their partner returned from the UK several days ago, touchdown in Rome’s Fiumicino airport. They’re now lonely and have observed, along with circle of relatives and near contacts, all procedures proscribed by the health authorities,” said an Italian ministry’s observation, according to Sputnik.
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, referred to as 501.V2, is dominant among new confirmed infections in South Africa’s current wave[ad_2]