UK in fresh lockdown over mutant coronavirus attack
29 December 2020
The United Kingdom is under fresh lockdown following the outbreak of a new wave of coronavirus infections caused by mutant varities that authorities say are more contageous.
The new variant, which has been named VUI-202012/01 (the first Variant Under Investigation in December 2020), is believed to have first occurred in mid-September in the country’s southeast, in the capital London or the county of Kent.
Seen as the worst outbreak, UK has been shut off from the rest of the world, including much of Europe, after its closest allies cut transport ties due to fears about a new strain that has no effective remedy.
The Italian government announced all flights to and from the UK will be suspended over fears of the new strain of the coronavirus, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease.
Besides Italy, other European countries, including Ireland, France, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Denmark, Poland have all banned flights from and to the UK.
The list of countries stopping flights from Britain continued to grow as alarmed officials reacted to a new, highly contagious variant of the coronavirus that has sent London and southeastern England into lockdown.
In India, union health minister Harsh Vardhan oallayed fears of fresh outbreak of the disease and said the government is alert and that there is no need to panic.
The health ministry has called a meeting to discuss the concerns and implications of a new strain of the novel coronavirus being discovered.
The meeting is being attended by experts from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), AIIMS, and also a representative from the World Health Organisation.
Elsewhere, Thailand has seen its worst outbreak of the coronavirus yet after hundreds of cases were traced to the country’s biggest seafood market.
A lockdown has been imposed in and around Samut Sakhon, a province near the capital Bangkok, as up to 40,000 people will be tested, health officials have said.
Saudi Arabia has suspended all international passenger flights for one week following news of a new strain of the coronavirus, state media reported.
Europe’s medicines regulator is assessing the Covid-19 vaccine jointly developed by US company Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, with a green light to put Europe on course to start vaccinations within a week.
France will start its Covid-19 vaccination programme next week on Sunday, health minister Olivier Veran wrote on his Twitter handle.
There have been more than 76.7 million cases of the coronavirus worldwide, with over 1.69 million deaths.