Europe isolates the UK: The United Kingdom has informed the World Health Organization (WHO) that the new variant of the coronavirus tracked in the south-east of the country can circulate faster, specifying that it is not yet clear whether it is more lethal. According to the Ministry of Health, the variant is already out of control. The new mutation has been also tracked in Italy, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Australia. Several EU countries today suspended flights with London.
According to the Independent, in the meantime, in the United Kingdom, the cases of Covid-19 have increased by more than 50%. In the last 24 hours, there was a peak of new infections in the country (+35,928), with another 326 victims. To avoid unpleasant surprises, however, the European chancelleries decided to isolate the United Kingdom. Italy has suspended all flights with Great Britain. No flights from the Kingdom also to the Netherlands that closed its air traffic with the UK until January 1st following the discovery of a Dutch case. Stop also for France and Belgium.
The patient with the British variant of COVID-19 was found for the first time in Italy as well. According to health sources, the patient is in isolation, with her partner returned from the UK a few days ago. And she has a strong viral load. The woman, in the Rome area, had a swab in recent days, probably in a drive-through. Other family members and their close contacts are also in isolation.
The World Health Organization affirmed today that it is in “close contact” with the British authorities from the variant of the virus’ discovery. That would have a higher transmissibility, quantified at 70% more by Prime Minister Johnson. In a tweet, the UN agency writes that it is sharing scientific information with London and is committed to providing all updates to other member states and public opinion, “as we learn about the characteristics of this variant of the virus and its implications.”
To coordinate an EU response to the emergency due to the isolated variant the German EU presidency invited member states to an urgent meeting of the IPCR, the political crisis management mechanism, on Monday at 11 am. German presidency spokesman Sebastian Fischer announced on Twitter. London, the East and the South East of England are back in lockdown. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced this on Saturday at a press conference, committed to stemming the wave of infections attributed to the variant of Covid-19. “There are no indications that it is more deadly or that it causes a more severe form of the disease” or that it reduces the effectiveness of vaccines, he added.