The recently discovered variant of SARS-CoV-2 is 70% more contagious than its predecessors and has enforced a tougher lockdown in London and the south of the UK.
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This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors can occur due to this process.
This week the British government alerted the World Health Organization (WHO) to the discovery of a new strain of coronavirus. This appears to be accelerating the expansion of COVID-19 in England as it represents around 60% of the cases discovered in London in the past few weeks.
The newly discovered variant is called "VUI 202012/01", a name that is derived from "Variant Under Investigation" and includes several mutations. According to the first reviews, the contagion is higher.
Yesterday, Saturday, the WHO confirmed with a message on Twitter that it is in "close contact" with the British health authorities. The agency said it will inform member states and the public "as we learn more about the characteristics of this variant of the virus and its possible effects".
In the meantime, we continue to advise people to take all protective measures to prevent the spread of the # COVID19 virus and to comply with guidelines from national authorities. https://t.co/CTdAEJ8Pqn
– World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) December 19, 2020
The British Health Minister Matt Hancock said in an interview with the British network Sky News that the situation was "extremely serious" and that the variant of the coronavirus was "out of control". Because of this, the government had to act "swiftly and decisively" in relation to the restrictions imposed across much of the country.
London and the South East of the UK woke up on what is known as Level 4 this Sunday. This means effectively closing the affected areas, forcing residents to stay in their homes with limited exceptions, closing recreational facilities and non-essential services and, according to the Prime Minister, imposing work from home, except in uncomfortable circumstances.
“Everyone, especially those who live in certain Level 4 regions, should act like they have the virus. This is the only way to regain control, ”added the Minister.
The new strain is not more serious, but it spreads faster
"It's a fatal disease and we need to control it, which is more difficult with this new variant," said Hancock. "It will be very difficult to get it under control until we distribute the vaccine (…). We will have to deal with it in the next two months."
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the new strain of the virus was up to 70% more contagious than its predecessors. This variant would be the cause of the rapid spread of the outbreak in London and southern England.
"There is no evidence that it is more deadly or causes a more serious disease" or that vaccines are less effective with it, the UK authorities found.
The WHO confirmed that cases have already been discovered outside of UK territory: nine in Denmark, one in the Netherlands, one in Italy and one in Australia. The same organism recommended its members "to increase their (capacity for) sequencing the virus," said a spokeswoman for WHO Europe.
Tomorrow, Monday, there will be an emergency meeting convened by the Presidency of the European Union to find a common strategy for dealing with the new variant of the coronavirus.
"The presidency has invited the EU member states to an urgent meeting of the IPCR crisis mechanism (Integrated Political Response to Crisis) tomorrow morning at 11.00," wrote German spokesman Sebastian Fischer on Twitter. . The RPIC is responsible for monitoring the COVID-19 crisis and organizing a coordinated response in the European Union.
The German @ EU Council Presidency has invited the # EU member states tomorrow morning at 11.00 a.m. to an urgent meeting of the #IPCR crisis mechanism.
On the agenda: EU coordination to respond to the newly identified variant # COVID19 in the # UK
Mexico has not commented on the matter, nor has it restricted entry to UK flights. The federal government is expected to announce its position after the resolutions of the European Union are known.