Daily Management Review

A New Covid-19 Strain That Is More Transmissible Identified In The UK


A New Covid-19 Strain That Is More Transmissible Identified In The UK
A new variant of the novel coronavirus that “can spread more quickly” compared to the prior strains of the virus, was identified in the United Kingdom, said the country’s top medical officer on Saturday
That announcement prompted the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to impose fresh restrictions on parts of the country in order to curb the spread of the new virus strain.
“We’re learning about it as we go, but we already know enough, more than enough, to be sure that we must act now,” Johnson said during a press briefing on Saturday where he laid out fresh restrictions on London and other parts of England ahead of the Christmas holiday.
“When the virus changes its method of attack, we must change our method of defense,” Johnson said.
After an increase in cases in the southern and eastern parts of England, announcement of the new coronavirus strain was made on Monday by the UK government. According to a statement from Public Health England, as of Sunday, a little more than 1,100 Covid-19 cases with the new variant had been identified.
Johnson said on Saturday that it is now believed that the new strain of the virus could be as much as 70 per cent more transmissible compared to the original strain of the Cvoid-19 virus. The rapid spread of infections is apparently being driven by this new strain, Johnson added. A call on citizens to avoid traveling and “stay local” was given by Johnson, so that the new strain does not spread across the country and abroad.
According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, about 24,061 new Covid-19 cases every day are being reported by the United Kingdom currently, based on a weekly average, which represents a 40 per cent growth compared to the figures a week ago.
“This is early data, and it’s subject to review, but it’s the best that we have at the moment and we have to act on information as we have it because this is now spreading very fast,” Johnson said.
“Viruses mutate all the time”, said Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, at the press briefing. Mutations happen every year in the seasonal influenza virus and according to Public Health England, other new variants of the coronavirus have already been identified in countries like Spain.
Whitty said that it was more important to know whether the new strain of the Cvoid-19 virus is able to get transmitted more easily, whether it makes people sicker and whether the way an individual’s immune system responds to the virus in the case of them having already been infected or vaccinated is changed.
Whitty said that “a significant, substantial increase in transmissibility” has so far been found for the new strain of the virus based on a collection of evidence from genetic, frequency and laboratory studies. However, scientists have so far found no evidence that can suggest that the new virus strain is also responsible for a higher death rate.