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Everything we know about potentially dangerous new Covid variants

Six countries were added to the UK Red List after British scientists said they were worried about a new variant of the coronavirus.

The B.1.1.529 variant was first discovered in Botswana, South Africa and Hong Kong.

People who recently visited South Africa, where most of the variants have been discovered so far, and returned to the UK have been contacted for testing to see if they have contracted abroad.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly is “deeply concerned” about the new Covid variant identified in Africa.

A statement from the Irish Ministry of Health said: “The World Health Organization (WHO) will meet tomorrow to further assess the importance of this variant.

“WHO has not yet designated this mutant as a strain of concern.

“The ECDC (European Center for Disease Prevention and Control) reports that it continues to monitor all new evidence associated with this variant.”

The statement added: “The ministry is aware of the steps taken by the British government, including the suspension of flights from many African countries.

“No cases of this variant have been reported in Europe so far, but the Minister of Health is deeply concerned.

“This department has been in contact with colleagues in Northern Ireland and will continue to be in contact with the UK authorities.

“Sectoral advice to the Minister will continue to be communicated by relevant guidance issued by the ECDC and WHO.”

Which travel editor? Rory Borland said in concern about the new Covid variant after the government decided to put six African countries on the red travel list on Friday:

“Pandemic continues to confuse passengers’ travel plans, often unnoticed.

“All flights to these countries are suspended, so all passengers are closed only if booked with a UK or EU airline or an airline scheduled to depart from the UK or EU. Or you are entitled to a full refund for your flight .. It may be more difficult to get a refund for your accommodation, depending on your accommodation policy.

“Recently, restrictions have changed in some countries and refunds are not always guaranteed. Travelers have a holiday with appropriate and flexible booking policies in case the trip doesn’t go any further. It is important to choose a provider. “

Health Minister Sajid Javid said more work is needed to understand how the variant is concerned.

He told reporters: The number of mutations is probably twice the number of mutations found in the delta variant.

“And it would suggest that it is more contagious and the current vaccine we have may probably be less effective.”

– When was it first displayed?

British scientists first noticed the new strain on November 23, after samples were uploaded to the coronavirus mutant tracking website from South Africa, Hong Kong, and Botswana. So far, a total of 59 samples have been uploaded to the website.

Three samples are from Hong Kong, three are from Botswana and the rest are from South Africa.

A senior scientist outlining the situation in South Africa said: “Looking at the results up to a week ago, less than 1% of people tested positive in many areas, as it has increased so dramatically to 6% in some areas over the past few days. , I am very rapidly concerned about the people who may arrive. [in the UK] now. “

– Are there any cases in the UK?

Currently, there are no cases in the UK, confirmed by Health Minister Sajid Javid.

He added: “The early signs of this variant are that it may be more infectious than the delta variant, and the vaccines we currently have may be less effective against it.

“For clarity, this new variant has not been detected in the UK at this time.

“But we have always made it clear that we will take action to protect our progress.

“Our scientists are deeply concerned about this variant. Of course, I’m concerned that it is one of the reasons we took this action today.”

– Has any of these countries been Red Listed?

Yes. Flights from Southern Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini and Zimbabwe will be suspended from noon on Friday and all six countries will be added to the Red List.

– What does this mean for travelers?

The UK and Scottish Government and the Northern Ireland Executive arrived in the UK on Thursday between noon on Friday and 4 am on Sunday, and residents of the UK and Ireland who have stayed in 6 countries within the last 10 days have 10 at home. He said he had to be isolated for a day. Perform the NHS PCR test on days 2 and 8 even if you have already booked an immunochromatography.

Passengers arriving from 4am on Sunday (including UK and Irish residents) must book and pay for a government-approved hotel and quarantine for 10 days. You will also need to take the test on the 2nd and 8th days.

Once the quarantine hotel is set up, direct flights from the six countries to the United Kingdom will be temporarily banned until 4 am on Sunday.

It is currently unknown how contagious the new variant is (Liam McBurney / PA).

From noon on Friday, November 26th, non-UK and Irish people who have visited each country in the last 10 days will be denied entry into the UK.

– How is it different from other variants?

Despite being followed only for the last 3 days, the virus has already been confirmed to carry 30 different mutations. By comparison, this is twice the delta variant, the UK’s most prominent variant over the past few months.

Mutations include traits not previously found, as well as features found in all other subspecies.

– Does the vaccine protect people from it?

It’s too early to say. Mutations can potentially make the mutant more contagious and circumvent the protection provided by previous infections or vaccinations.

– Is it classified as a “variant of concern”?

Some say that British scientists are still concerned, though they do not have enough evidence of their level of infectivity.

Professor Ravi Gupta, a professor of clinical microbiology at the University of Cambridge, said:

“B.1.1.529 certainly looks like a serious concern based on the mutations present. Many have been shown to affect binding by neutralizing antibodies, and the virus Some are known to increase their ability to invade cells and to fuse cells to allow intercellular diffusion. “


Those who have recently returned to the UK from South Africa are invited to a special test (Steve Parsons / PA).

Professor Neil Ferguson, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said: “The B.1.1.529 variant has an unprecedented number of mutations in the peplomer gene, which is the target of most vaccines.

“Therefore, there is concern that this variant is more likely to escape previous immunity than the previous variant.

“But there are still no reliable estimates of whether B.1.1.529 is more contagious or more resistant to the vaccine, so it is time to provide an evidence-based assessment of that risk. It’s too early. Pose. “

This is known as a “supervised variant,” and scientists believe it could pose a risk for the future, but its implications are unknown.

– How much do you need to worry about this variant?

British scientists are enthusiastic about examining and examining live viral cultures, but this takes time. It can take at least 7-10 days to grow enough virus to be shared with other scientists and be able to study how the virus mutates and changes.

Authorities will also have to wait for data from South Africa. The earliest they expect to receive evidence is 2-3 weeks, but it can take 4-6 weeks.

Everything we know about potentially dangerous new Covid variants

Source link Everything we know about potentially dangerous new Covid variants

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