New COVID strain in South UK, what we know in few words

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covid 19
Covid-19

New COVID strain in South UK, what we know in few words

New COVID strain in South UK, what we know in few words? So it was of little surprise to scientists that variants of COVID-19 have been detected since the pandemic started. Seasonal influenza mutates every year, which is why there is an updated flu jab annually. Viruses change all the time.

But concerns are growing over a new strain of coronavirus identified in the United Kingdom. Several countries ban UK passengers in bid to contain new mutation, which is 70 percent more infectious and ripping through London.

Read: What countries have banned UK travel in this article. 

Read: England move to tier 4 starting Sunday 20th December.

Vaccines should still be effective against it and the new strain is not believed to be any more deadly, but people are increasingly worried because this mutation appears to be 70 percent more infectious. The broad symptoms of the new strain are the same – high temperature, persistent dry cough and a loss or change in taste and smell.

The new variant, which has been named VUI-202012/01 (the first Variant Under Investigation in December 2020), is thought to have first occurred in mid-September in the country’s southeast, in the capital London or the county of Kent.

Susan Hopkins of Public Health England said the agency notified the government on December 18 when modelling revealed the full seriousness of the new strain. The UK submitted its findings to the World Health Organization the same day.

Since then it spread quickly in the southeast, becoming the dominant form of the virus there. In London, 62 percent of cases were due to the new variant in the week of December 9. That compares with 28 percent three weeks earlier.

boris johnson
Boris Johnson

Faced with this rapid development, the UK government has moved to enforce stricter lockdown measures over the coming Christmas period.

Earlier, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson had been committed to allowing people to meet for festivities. But amid rising criticism and on the advice of his scientific advisers, many Britons are now banned from mixing households until at least the end of December, when the new measures will be reviewed.

Patrick Vallance, the UK’s chief scientific adviser, said the new variant may be in other countries as well but might have started in the UK. Several countries ban UK passengers in bid to contain new mutation, which is 70 percent more infectious and ripping through London.

Read: What countries have banned UK travel in this article.

Sources: Al Jazeera and news agencies