At an urgent press conference on Saturday, Johnson said the new variant was seen as “highly contagious by up to 70%” and caused cases to rise significantly in London and the southeastern UK. Those areas will now be placed under a locked form, Johnson said.
These restrictions are the latest hurdle for the epidemic-shaded Christmas holidays. As winter sets in in the Northern Hemisphere, governments from Asia to Europe have tightened social-exclusion rules and reintroduced locking measures to counter the rise of Govt-19 cases. The discovery of the new variant has deepened the concern that key restrictions will now continue until the new year.
Outside the UK, the new variant has already been identified in Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands and Australia.
Australian health officials said on Sunday that two cases of this variation had been found in the isolation administered in Sydney, while the Italian Ministry of Health said on Sunday that a patient had been isolated in Rome.
All viruses evolve over time and new variants have a common appearance, including the corona virus novel. A variant similar to that identified in the UK has also been identified in South Africa, which scientists say is spreading rapidly in coastal areas of the country.
What do we know about the new variant?
Chris Witty, the UK’s chief medical officer, warned on Saturday that the New England variant could “spread very quickly” and cause 60% of infections in the capital, which had doubled in the past week alone.
Witty warned that there is currently no evidence that the new variant is too deadly, or that it will neutralize the effectiveness of newly approved vaccines. However, the highly contagious virus can lead to more cases, resulting in more hospitalizations and more deaths. Even with a vaccine, it rarely manages to control the spread of the virus.
According to the UK Public Health (EPH), the New England variant was released in September and then spread to a very low level of population until mid-November.
“The increase in cases linked to the new variant came to light in late November, when the PHE explored why Kendall infection rates did not decrease despite national restrictions. We found a cluster linked to this variant spreading rapidly in London and Essex,” the company said.
Many experts have suggested that this new variant may be amplified due to a superspeeder event; It may be somehow mutated, which spreads easily without causing very serious disease; Or it may have been accidental.
EPH scientists have not yet identified the exact mechanism for the increase in transmission, usually a mutation in the spike protein, a part of the virus that attaches itself to the host cells, increasing its spread, the company said.
As of Monday, dozens of countries across Europe, the Middle East and the United States had announced travel bans to the UK. Others, such as Greece and Spain, have imposed restrictions on travelers coming from the UK to undergo corona virus testing or isolation.
In South America, Argentina, Chile and Colombia have suspended direct flights from the UK, while El Salvador has banned anyone from entering the country from the UK.
Hong Kong became the first country in Asia to ban British passengers on Monday, suspending all passenger flights from the UK from Tuesday and banning all passengers who have stayed in the UK for more than two hours in the last 14 days.
Flights were banned from the UK to the Middle East, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Israel.
Across Europe, countries have closed their borders to travel countries, including the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Italy, France, Sweden, Luxembourg, the Republic of Ireland, Estonia and the Czech Republic.
The 48-hour ban on all travel from the UK imposed by France from midnight on Sunday is particularly troubling, as it includes freight lorries traveling via the Eurodonel under the English Channel. The port of Dover on the south coast of the UK announced on Sunday night that its ferry terminal was “closed to all traffic leaving the UK until further notice due to border restrictions in France”.
An emergency meeting of UK government officials on Monday is expected to focus on international sanctions, and the Prime Minister’s Spokesperson told CNN that “sustainable freight traffic, especially outside the UK”. “Further meetings are being held this evening and tomorrow morning to ensure that strong plans are in place,” the spokesman added.
On Monday, UK Transport Secretary Grant Shops sought to allay fears of food disruptions, saying that Eurodone, from Dover to Calais, accounted for only about 20% of goods going in and out of the country.
“This is not the main place, most products come and go in unsupported containers and they keep flowing,” he said.
CNN’s Amy Udat, Taylor Barnes and Tara John contributed to the reporting.
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