The World Health Organization (WHO) has mentioned it’s in “close contact” with UK officers over the emergence of a brand new variant of coronavirus.
The new variant is spreading extra quickly than the unique model, however is just not believed to be extra lethal.
Large elements of south-east England, together with London, are actually beneath a brand new, stricter degree of restrictions in a bid to curb the quickly spreading virus.
There isn’t any proof to recommend the brand new variant reacts otherwise to vaccines.
On Sunday, the Netherlands launched a ban on passenger flights from the UK due to the brand new variant. The ban will stay in place till 1 January, the Dutch authorities mentioned.
The transfer comes after sampling of a case within the Netherlands earlier this month revealed the identical new variant of coronavirus as that discovered within the UK.
Pending “greater clarity” on the state of affairs within the UK, it mentioned “the risk of the new virus strain being introduced to the Netherlands should be minimised as much as possible”.
The Dutch authorities additionally mentioned it will work with different European Union member states within the coming days to “explore the scope for further limiting the risk of the new strain of the virus being brought over from the UK”.
What do we all know in regards to the new variant?
The WHO tweeted that it was involved with UK officers over the brand new variant.
It mentioned the UK was sharing info from ongoing research into the mutation, and that the WHO would replace member states and the general public “as we learn more about the characteristics of this virus variant [and] any implications”.
Although there may be “considerable uncertainty”, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson mentioned the brand new variant could also be as much as 70% extra transmissible than the outdated one.
But officers say there isn’t a present proof to recommend the brand new variant causes a better mortality fee or that it’s affected any otherwise by vaccines and coverings.
“I think this is a situation which is going to make things a lot worse, but there are some really optimistic things if you look once we get the vaccine out, assuming the vaccine works against this, which at the moment is the working assumption,” mentioned England’s chief medical officer, Prof Chris Whitty.
What is occurring world wide?
Italy has ordered a nationwide lockdown over a lot of the Christmas and New Year interval. The nation shall be beneath “red-zone” restrictions over the general public holidays, with non-essential outlets, eating places and bars closed, and Italians solely allowed to journey for restricted causes.
The Netherlands and Germany have imposed lockdowns till January. In Germany, Christmas will see a slight easing, with one family allowed to host as much as 4 shut relations.
Austria is about to enter its third lockdown after Christmas. From 26 December, non-essential outlets shall be shut and motion exterior properties restricted.
Sweden has advisable carrying face masks on public transport throughout the rush hour, reversing its earlier steerage.
France‘s President Emmanuel Macron is in a “stable” situation after testing optimistic for coronavirus, his workplace mentioned on Saturday. He remains to be experiencing signs, comparable to coughing and fatigue, however they don’t seem to be stopping him from working, it mentioned.
Slovakia‘s Prime Minister Igor Matovic, who attended an EU summit with Mr Macron final week, mentioned he had examined optimistic for coronavirus on Friday.
Several different European leaders who have been additionally on the summit mentioned they’d self-isolate.
Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales, has introduced new restrictions on family gatherings and hospitality venues for the Greater Sydney space in an try and include a rising outbreak there. Residents had already been instructed to remain at dwelling.
In the US, the military basic accountable for distributing Covid vaccines, Gen Gustave Perna, has admitted he failed over the preliminary variety of Pfizer/BioNTech doses promised to states. More than a dozen states have expressed alarm at a lower within the anticipated quantity.
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