The UK reports it has found a new variant of COVID-19, and scientists say it is spreading more quickly than others, reports said.
The news came two weeks after the UK vaccinated its first patients with the vaccine from Pfizer. The event marked, for a lot of people, the beginning of the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to England’s medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, “the new variant is responsible for 60%” of London infections. In fact, the infections have doubled since last week. Moreover, despite its ability to spread faster than other variants, there is no evidence suggesting it is more deadly or can affect vaccines. Whitty added that they’re currently investigating to confirm that, CNN reported.
The UK’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson added, the new variant “may be up to 70% more transmissible” than other strains.
Sir David King, the UK’s former Chief Scientific adviser, thinks the government should implement lockdown soon.
Mr. King told Sky News, “we need to go into lockdown sooner than the government is tending to do.”
In another part of the world, in South Africa, a new variant is reportedly driving a resurgence of COVID-19 cases leading to more hospitalizations and deaths, per the Associated Press.
More and More Countries Are Halting Flights from the UK
The UK has one of the highest numbers of cases and deaths because of COVID-19 in the world. In Western Europe, it falls behind France with more than 300,000 cases. However, due to the new strain from the UK, France has already banned travels to and from the country.
Moreover, other European countries that have already halted flights from the UK are the following: Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Portugal, Belgium, Bulgaria, Austria, the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Romania, Sweden, and Croatia.
Opinion: The Fight Against the Pandemic Continues
The newly discovered variants of COVID-19 shows us that the fight against the pandemic is still there. New vaccines and treatment, despite showing promise, should not promote complacency to the point of making things much worse than it already is. Until the numbers of cases and deaths go down, everyone should remain vigilant and follow safety protocols as much as possible.