The new Covid-19 strain from UK has slapped the entire world. Nations around the world have been compelled to impose travel restrictions on the United Kingdom. Scientists claim that the new COVID-19 strain is about 70 per cent more infectious than the previous one. Moreover, the spreading speed has left the world in utter chaos.
Let us have a look at where this strain has spread so far, and how nations are gearing up for it.
- South Korea
The Korean Disease Control and Prevention Agency reported three cases of the new COVID-19 strain. These people returned to Korea on December 22 after meeting their London-based family. The individuals were quarantined immediately after they tested positive for the virus. The Korean health authorities are also probing the case of an old man who contracted the virus posthumously this month.
South Korea is now in the middle of a third wave of the coronavirus. The capital city of Seoul has been reporting over 1,000 cases daily in spite of following stringent social distancing norms.
The French nation got its first case of the new COVID-19 strain on 19 December. The man who arrived in France from London was asymptomatic and was told to remain in isolation at home. The country had initially gated its borders, but erased the restrictions to allow people who tested negative into the country. France which has already reported 2.5 million active cases will continue with the lockdown. Curfew will be imposed on New Year’s Eve and public places will remain shut.
The government of Spain confirmed the emergence of the new COVID-19 strain in Madrid. Antonio Zapatero, the deputy health chief of Spain said that four people have been infected with the new variant. He said that they haven’t yet shown any serious symptoms. Three others who have been suspected of carrying the new strain will get their test results soon. Spain has kept its borders open only for Spanish residents and nationals.
Japan too has joined the list of nations that have been hit by the new COVID-19 strain. The country has closed its doors for foreign nationals till January 2021. Japanese residents have been allowed to go back and will be tested upon arrival. Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said that he has done this in a bid to safeguard Japanese citizens and their livelihoods. The country is planning on compensating the losses restruants have faced and will encourage eateries to remain open for a few hours. Those who don’t comply with the rules will be penalized. A total of 8 people have tested positive for the new variant.
Sara Buford from the Sweden Public Health Agency attended a news conference to talk about the country’s first case of the new strain. She said that the person has been in self-isolation after arriving from London. The person’s family members have not yet been infected. The country is now gearing up to undertake more tests and closely monitor the spread of the new COVID-19 strain. Contact tracing, social distancing will be followed as usual.
Canada’s first two cases of the mutant variant have been detected in a couple. They were put under isolation the day when Ontario had once again imposed the lockdown. Dr Barbara Yaffe who is Ontario’s chief medical officer stressed on the importance of people staying at home. The country has banned arrivals from South Africa land United Kingdom. It has already started distributing Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine.
Australia decided to end its Christmas and New Year plans after two mutant Covid-19 cases were detected. The government has issued strict measures to hotel quarantine people for 14 days. Flight bans are in effect now. Moreover, the country has also detected a growing cluster of coronavirus cases in some beaches situated in the North. Fines were issued on people for violating restrictions.
8. South Africa
A new strain has started circulating in the African country. This strain has been detected only in South Africa till now. Cases have crossed the 1 million mark due to the emergence of this strain. This mutant variant is different from the variant from United Kingdom. The first case was reported in Nelson Mandela Bay, and is putting a pressure on the country’s health system. Many countries like Israel, Turkey, Germany, United Kingdom have banned flights from South Africa.
Nazir Obeidat, the health Minister of Jordan reported that a couple have been infected with the new strain. Authorities said that the couple is in excellent health at the moment. The country has decided on the free distribution of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine.
China’s technology hub Shenzhen reported its first case of the mutant strain. About 800,000 people from the Shunyi district of Beijing will be tested after Beijing witnessed few surges in the coronavirus cases. Two villages in the district have been shut off from the surrounding areas. Civil servants will have to stay in Beijing till 1 January. No public spaces will remain open and travel bans will be reimposed.
Anoushka Das is an intern at SheThePeople.TV.