A new genetic variant of coronavirus flagged in EnglandDecember 16, 2020
As the UK started vaccinating the masses for the existing novel coronavirus, a new variant of the virus was recently detected mostly in the south-east England where cases are now rising the fastest, announced the Health Secretary Matt Hancock. However, as of now there is no evidence the strain behaves differently to existing types of the virus.
“The new strain has not shown any symptoms of causing a worse disease and the experts are hoping the vaccines will be able to protect people against the new variant of COVID-19 too. Initial analysis suggests that this variant is growing faster than the existing variants,” he said.
Since its outbreak in Wuhan in 2019 many variants of the novel coronavirus has been detected in many countries and the virus seems to evolve over time. This time the new genetic variant was reported in among 1,000 individuals in England. The authorities are looking at its significance, informed the WHO’s emergencies expert Mike Ryan in a news briefing.
In addition to this, with a surge in cases, the capital city London has been marked in Tier 3 lockdown with immediate effect to contain the wide spread of the virus.
Hancock said London, and parts of three surrounding counties, would move into the highest of three levels of restrictions in force across England from Wednesday. Pubs, bars, restaurants and other hospitality venues will have to close, except for takeaway food, as will theatres and other venues in the entertainment sector.
Britain last week became the first country to offer the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and is now rolling out the programme to GP surgeries, and in care homes in Scotland. London has seen more than 201,000 of the 1.8 million positive cases nationwide, and more than 7,000 of over 64,000 deaths in UK.