What do we know about the new strain of the virus that appears in the United Kingdom?

In the streets of London, 19 December 2020 – TOLGA AKMEN / AFP

  • A few days before the Christmas holiday, the United Kingdom is regrouping itself and announces the presence of a new strain of coronovirus, which seems much more contagious.
  • Result: Many countries have closed their borders for travelers from British territory, so as to prevent this mutation.
  • Viewed in Italy or the Netherlands, “it is possible that (this type of virus) spreads to France”, admitted Oliver Vernon, Health Minister, this Monday.

This is not the Christmas we expected. The United Kingdom finds itself more and more isolated on Monday, facing the new strain of Kovid-19, declared “out of control”. More and more countries are cutting off their air and rail links with British soil, including France. Should we be worried? 20 minutes This mutation takes stock of the state of knowledge.

Where did this stretch appear?

You will be doing your Christmas shopping when, at the end of Saturday, the United Kingdom announced the re-joining of London and South-East England, following the presence in the country ‘a new strain of the virus.

Italy announced on Sunday evening that it had traced the first case diagnosed in Rome. In one case in Denmark (nine), as well as the Netherlands and Australia, the World Health Organization (WHO) had already stated that other pollutants were reported.

“It is possible that (this type of virus) roams in France”, admitted Olivier Vernon this Monday. This stress will be subject to growth monitoring. “We are starting genotypic studies. In the last few days, 500 viral strains have been genetically analyzed and this variant has not been found, which does not mean that it is not circulating, ”the minister said.

What do we know about its dangerousness?

The WHO stated “the variant may be more infectious” and affect the effectiveness of some diagnostic methods. However, at the moment “there is no evidence of a change in the severity of the disease,” she said. For now, governments are waiting for scientific data on this change.

A conclusion confirmed by Health Minister Olivier Veran in Europe this Monday: “Variation of this virus has been identified in an area in the English region where we are also seeing the onset of a more significant epidemic”, he explained. “British scientists are wondering if this new version may be more contagious than others, they have no evidence, but you understand that all necessary decisions are being taken.”

Can this new mutation make the vaccine ineffective?

Again, in the absence of scientific data, caution is in order. But there are many voices who say that the vaccine will remain effective. the explanation. “Antibodies evoked by the two main vaccines do not target this mutated region of the virus. So, a priority, there is no reason to think that vaccines would be less effective, which is still good news, ”said Olivier Veran.

On the other hand, the WHO expresses skepticism about the “effectiveness of certain diagnostic methods”, without further details. Olivier Vernon assured on Monday that the new strain of the virus did not question the effectiveness of PCR tests.

Why did France cut itself off from the United Kingdom?

In France, a travel ban for those arriving from the United Kingdom is placed at 48 hours (for now), specifying midnight as of December 23, 2020. Government newspaper. “We had to make a difficult decision, but one that was necessary in the wake of the circulation of this version of Kovid-19”, explained Gabriel Attal, the government’s spokesman on RTL, because “we must be vigilant and take full precautions when a mutation Is presented as being more contagious ”.” British scientists are wondering if this new version may be more contagious than others, they have no evidence, but you understand that all the necessary decisions are taken. Going “, said Olivier Veran.

Like France, more and more countries are announcing a ban on flights from the United Kingdom: Canada, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Switzerland, Portugal, Belgium, Austria, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia and the Netherlands. Outside Europe, Hong Kong has closed its air contacts with the Kingdom, while the United States has not announced restrictive measures, but said it is monitoring the situation “very carefully”.

Will the French living in Britain be able to return for the holidays?

France should provide recommendations at the end of the restriction measures planned for 48 hours. French living in the United Kingdom will know if they can return “at the end of the day (this Monday) or tomorrow (Tuesday)”, Olivier Vernon assured. “Probably the circumstances that would allow them to return to France within 24-48 hours are being coordinated with our European partners”, he said among the subjects of reflection, citing “perhaps the first PCR tests were required to leave. For, when one comes into national territory, the question of septen (…) ”.

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About the Author: Forrest Morton

Organizer. Zombie aficionado. Wannabe reader. Passionate writer. Twitter lover. Music scholar. Web expert.

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