UK's new mutant Covid-19 strain detected in Australia and Italy

Remigio Civitarese
Dicembre 21, 2020

Britain has alerted the World Health Organization that the new variant identified this week appears to be accelerating the spread of COVID-19, saying it accounted for some 60 per cent of the capital's cases.

The fear over the fast spread of the new strain has led many countries to put new restrictions on worldwide travel.

Russian Federation will halt all flights with Britain from midnight Tuesday, joining the growing list of countries to suspend air travel with the country amid concerns of a more-infectious coronavirus strain found there.

A third of England's population entered a Christmas lockdown and UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned that the new strain of virus was "out of control".

British virologist Julian Tang says the new strain of coronavirus detected in Britain will likely still be vulnerable to the vaccines developed to combat COVID-19.

The ban will not apply to cargo flights, or flights where no one gets off of the plane.

UK's Johnson said on Saturday that the new strain "could increase the R [rate of infection] by 0.4 or more and is up to 70 percent more transmissible than the original disease", warning that it was "spreading very fast".

So far France, Germany, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Ireland, Bulgaria, Spain, Turkey, Israel, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, El Salvador, Colombia, Morocco, Chile, Finland, Denmark, and Argentina, Romania, Switzerland and Kuwait temporarily suspended travel from Britain.

"We have never imposed such severe restrictions on any region in the past, but the variant in Britain is spreading so rapidly that it is necessary to block the spread of this mutation from its source", she said at a news conference.

"As a measure of abundant precaution, passengers arriving from United Kingdom in all transit flights (flights that have taken off or flights which are reaching India before 22nd Dec at 23.59 hrs) should be subject to mandatory RT-PCR test on arrival at the airports concerned", said India's civil aviation ministry on Twitter, referring to a medical scan to detect the disease.

Almost 30 other countries have banned travel to and from Britain due to the mutation.

All worldwide arrivals must already spend 14 days in isolation in a hotel.

The Dutch public health body RIVM added that it "recommends any introduction of this virus strain from the United Kingdom be limited as much as possible by limiting and/or controlling passenger movements".

"The goal is to keep this variant of the COVID-19 virus outside our national borders", authorities note in the announcement.

Britain has been badly hit by the pandemic, with more than 67,000 deaths of those testing positive for the virus.

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