17 de enero de 2022

UK isolated from the rest of the world due to a new coronavirus variant

More than 30 countries have banned UK arrivals because of concerns at the spread of a new variant of coronavirus.

Flights from the UK have been suspended in nations in Europe and across the world including India and Hong Kong.

On Sunday evening, France shut its border with the UK for 48 hours, meaning no lorries or ferries will be able to sail from the port of Dover. The French government said on Monday it will establish a protocol «to ensure movement from the UK can resume».

The prime minister is due to chair a meeting of the government’s emergency committee.

European Union member states are currently meeting in Brussels to discuss a co-ordinated response.

Other countries to impose a ban on UK arrivals include Belgium, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Romania, Russia and Switzerland.

Meanwhile, coronavirus cases in the UK rose by 35,928 on Sunday – nearly double the number recorded seven days previously.

And it was announced that a further 326 people died within 28 days of testing positive, bringing the nation’s total to 67,401.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned that the new variant of the virus – which may be up to 70% more transmissible – is «getting out of control».

The new variant has spread quickly in London and south-east England, but health officials say there is no evidence that it is more deadly or would react differently to vaccines.

On Monday, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to address the nation on coronavirus following his emergency meeting.

Sir Keir said: «The news over the last 24 hours has been deeply disturbing. The number of coronavirus cases has nearly doubled in the last week.»

Citing international borders closing and «severe disruption» at Britain’s ports, he said: «Make no mistake this is now a real emergency.»

He called on the government to step up, saying: «We can have no more over-promising and false hope, confused messages and slow decision-making. We need strong, clear and decisive leadership.»

Three things are coming together that mean the new coronavirus variant is attracting attention:
  • It is rapidly replacing other versions of the virus
  • It has mutations that affect part of the virus likely to be important
  • Some of those mutations have already been shown in the lab to increase the ability of the virus to infect cells

All of these come together to build a case for a virus that can spread more easily.

(Edited from BBC)

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