Is The New Coronavirus Strain Deadlier? Do Vaccines Work On It? Here Are 10 Things We Know So Far

The new strain was detected first in September this year. By November, it was responsible for around a quarter of the cases of COVID-19 in London.

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Reports of the UK imposing stricter restrictions close to Christmas due to a new strain coronavirus have sparked global concerns. UK government advisors say this new mutated strain has a higher rate of transmission than other variants. Authorities have, in fact, gone ahead to say that the new coronavirus variant is "out of control" and is spreading rapidly across London and South East England. As fresh information emerges, the Health Ministry of India has called for an emergency meeting today.


Also Read: Yes, The Coronavirus Mutates. But That Shouldn’t Affect The Current Crop Of Vaccines

Here are ten things to know about the new coronavirus strain:

1. According to a BBC report this new coronavirus strain is replacing other versions of the virus.

2. The mutations in the new strain of coronavirus have increased its ability to infect cells.

3. According to Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, "There is no current evidence to suggest the new strain causes a higher mortality rate or that it affects vaccines and treatments although urgent work is underway to confirm this."

4. The new strain was detected first in September this year. By November, it was responsible for around a quarter of the cases of COVID-19 in London. The fraction jumped to two-thirds of all cases in London by mid December.


5. As per CNN, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced stricter restrictions around Christmas in susceptible areas. Under the Tier-4 restrictions, people are expected to stay at home and step outside only for limited purposes. For Christmas, household mixing is not allowed in areas facing Tier-4 restrictions.

6. Speaking at a press conference to make the announcements over fresh restriction, Johnson said, "The spread is being driven by the new variant of the virus," adding, "It appears to spread more easily and maybe up to 70 percent more transmissible than the earlier strain."

7. After the news of new coronavirus strain emerged, several European nations imposed air travel ban on the UK. Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and Italy have all halted their flights. On Monday The European Council is expected to hold to co-ordinated further actions by the EU.

8. The Union Health Ministry of India too will conduct an emergency meeting of its Joint Monitoring Group on December 21. The meeting will be chaired by Director General of Health Services (DGHS) and Dr Roderico H Ofrin, World Health Organisation’s (WHO) India representative could participate in it, reports Hindustan Times.

9. German Health Minister Jens Spahn says that current coronavirus vaccines will be effective against the new strain. Citing “talks among experts of European authorities," Spahn said that "According to everything we know so far” this new strain of coronavirus "has no impact on the vaccines”, and they remain “just as effective”, reports Hindustan Times.

10. On December 21, India announced a temporary ban on all incoming flights from the UK. "Considering the prevailing situation in UK. Govt. of India has decided that all flights originating from UK to India to be suspended till 31st December 2020 (23.59 hours)," tweeted the Ministry of Civil Aviation's official Twitter handle. A follow-up tweet read, "As a measure of abundant precaution, passengers arriving from UK in all transit flights (flights that have taken off or flights which are reaching India before 22nd Dec at 23.59 hrs) should be subject to mandatory RT-PCR test on arrival at the airports concerned."

Image Credit: Unsplash

Also Read: India crosses 1 crore cases of COVID-19; recovery rate 95%


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