Three new variants have been reported globally prompting health officials to increase their vigilance. For instance, experts say the UK variant is 70 percent more transmissible. However, none of these variants can be described as fatal or incapable of evading vaccines or treatment.
Reports of a new variant first emerged from the UK on December 14. The variant was named VUI-202012/01 and can be dated back to mid-September. Referred to as the B117 lineage - it is the dominant spread of Covid-19 in most parts of the UK.
Last week South Africa reported another strain that seemed to have mutated further than the UK variant. The 501.V2 is dominant among the new infections of Covid-19.
On December 24th, the head of Africa’s disease control body disclosed the emergence of another strain of covid-19 in Nigeria - the P681H. This is a separate lineage from other mutations but spreads equally fast as the other two variants.
Here are countries that have reported cases of the new Covid-19 variant.
On Tuesday the 22nd, Dutch Health Minister Hugo de Jonge announced an infection of the new variant in the country. Both cases originate from the Amsterdam area. The Netherlands alongside 50 other countries has taken measures to prevent the importation and spread of this virus such as the suspension of travel across the channel for 10 days. It is now a week after the Netherlands banned all flights from South Africa.
Denmark reported 33 new covid-19 infections of the new Covid-19 strain spreading across the United Kingdom. This disclosure was made by The State Serum Institute (SSI) on Wednesday. Like several other countries globally, Denmark has suspended flights to the UK.
A French national returning to France from Britain on the 19th of December was the first reported case of the Covid-19 mutation. No symptoms were present on the individual and was quickly quarantined at his home in central Tours. According to French health minister Olivier Veran, it is entirely possible that the new variant is spreading across the country.
Italy registered its second strain of Covid-19 near Ancona and the patient shows no direct link to the UK. The country first discovered that new strain on December 19 from a patient who came from the UK. This patient was identified at the Fiumicino Airport and has since been quarantined.
Health agencies in Sweden confirmed a case in a traveler from the UK who had been self-isolating.
Spanish authorities reported its first four cases of the new variant on December 26. All were related to prior travel to the United Kingdom. This was according to Antonio Zapatero, the regional deputy health chief.
Three cases were identified across Switzerland, two of which were from British citizens residing in the country. This was confirmed by Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health.
Switzerland is the only European country keeping its ski slopes open to UK travelers over the festive season.
Boris Johnson’s spokesman revealed that the United Kingdom’s overseas territory of Gibraltar had recorded one case of the new variant. The tiny enclave closed its borders to the United Kingdom. Thus far the mutant virus has been reported in all parts of the United Kingdom except Northern Ireland.
Also read: Europe closes for Covid
Meanwhile, vaccination rollout is in high gear across Europe. Head of the Europen Commission Ursula von der Leyen revealed a statement calling it a “touching moment of unity.” Scientists believe the new variant was detected in the UK due to the strength of its surveillance and detection system.