COVID-19 Variant Sparks U.K. Travel Restrictions

covid immunity

Dec. 21, 2020 — Researchers have actually discovered an extremely infectious coronavirus version in the United Kingdom, leading Prime Minister Boris Johnson to close down components of the nation and also setting off various other countries to enforce traveling and also delivery limitations on England.

Johnson held a situation conference with priests Monday after Saturday’s closure news. The head of state stated in an across the country aired address that this coronavirus version might be “up to 70% more transmissible than the old variant” and also was possibly in charge of a rise in situations in southeastern England.

“There is still much we don’t know. While we are fairly certain the variant is transmitted more quickly, there is no evidence to suggest that it is more lethal or causes more severe illness. Equally there is no evidence to suggest the vaccine will be any less effective against the new variant,” he stated.

Public Health England claims it is functioning to find out as much regarding the version as feasible. “We know that mortality is a lagging indicator and we will need to continually monitor this over the coming weeks,” the firm claims.

That clinical unpredictability regarding the version’s hazard drank European countries that were hurrying to deliver products to England ahead of a Dec. 31 Brexit due date. Under Brexit, which is brief for “British exit,” the United Kingdom will certainly leave the European Union on Jan. 31, 2020. Until after that, both sides will certainly create brand-new profession and also protection connections.

European Union participants Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, and also the Netherlands revealed traveling limitations hrs after Johnson’s speech. 

Those limitations produced food unpredictability throughout the U.K., which imports regarding a quarter of its food from the EU, according to The New York Times. Long lines of vehicles heading to ports in the U.K. stopped on significant roadways such as the M20 near Kent and also the Port of Dover. 

Outside Europe, Canada, India, Iran, Israel, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, and also Turkey prohibited all inbound trips from the U.K. And even more restrictions can come.

The U.S. Reaction

The United States has actually not enforced any kind of brand-new limitations on traveling with the United Kingdom, although New York Gov. Mario Cuomo has actually asked for all guests bound for John F. Kennedy International Airport from the U.K. be evaluated prior to boarding and also a brand-new traveling restriction be put for Europe. He claims the federal government needs to act currently to stay clear of a dilemma circumstance like the one New York experienced in March and also April.

“The United States has a number of flights coming in from the U.K. each day, and we have done absolutely nothing,” Cuomo stated in a declaration on the guv’s page. “To me, this is reprehensible because this is what happened in the spring. How many times in life do you have to make the same mistake before you learn?”

Leading U.S. wellness authorities have actually minimized the threats of the infection.

“We don’t know that it’s more dangerous and, very importantly, we have not seen a single mutation yet that would make it evade the vaccine,” U.S. Assistant Secretary of Health and also Human Services Adm. Brett Giroir, MD, stated Sunday on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos. “I can’t say that won’t happen in the future, but right now it looks like the vaccine will cover everything that we see.”

Giroir stated the Department of Health and also Human Services and also various other U.S. federal government firms will certainly keep track of the version.

“Viruses mutate,” he stated. “We’ve seen almost 4,000 different mutations among this virus. There is no indication that the mutation right now that they’re talking about is overcoming England.”

Where Did the Variant Come From?

Public Health England claims the coronavirus version had actually existed in the U.K. given that September and also flowed at really reduced degrees till mid-November.

“The increase in cases linked to the new variant first came to light in late November when PHE was investigating why infection rates in Kent were not falling despite national restrictions. We then discovered a cluster linked to this variant spreading rapidly into London and Essex,” the firm claims.

Public Health England claims there’s no proof the brand-new version is immune to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination, which is currently being offered throughout the nation to critical teams such as healthcare employees. 

An post in The BMJ, a British clinical journal, claims the version was very first discovered by Covid-19 Genomics UK, a consortium that examines the arbitrary hereditary sequencing of favorable COVID-19 examples around the U.K. The alternative situations were mainly in the southeast of England.

A University of Birmingham teacher stated in a Dec. 15 instruction that the alternative represent 20% of infections sequenced in Norfolk, 10% in Essex, and also 3% in Suffolk. “There are no data to suggest it had been imported from abroad, so it is likely to have evolved in the U.K.,” he stated.

The version is called VUI-202012/01, for the very first “variant under investigation” in December 2020, BMJ claims. It’s specified by a collection of 17 anomalies, with one of the most substantial anomaly in the spike healthy protein the infection makes use of to bind to the human ACE2 receptor.

“Changes in this part of spike protein may, in theory, result in the virus becoming more infectious and spreading more easily between people,” the post claims.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and also Control claims the alternative arised while of year when individuals generally mingle a lot more.

“There is no indication at this point of increased infection severity associated with the new variant,” the firm claims. “A few cases with the new variant have to date been reported by Denmark and the Netherlands and, according to media reports, in Belgium.”

Johnson revealed tighter limitations on England’s hardest-hit locations, such as the southeast and also eastern of England, where brand-new coronavirus situations have actually remained to climb. And he stated individuals have to reduce on their Christmas interacting socially.

“In England, those living in tier 4 areas should not mix with anyone outside their own household at Christmas, though support bubbles will remain in place for those at particular risk of loneliness or isolation,” he stated.

WebMD Health News


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson: “Prime Minister’s Statement on Coronavirus,” Dec. 19, 2020.

The New York Times:  “Alarmed by reports of new coronavirus strain, nations close doors to Britain.”

ABC News: ” ‘This Week’ Transcript 12-20-20: Adm. Brett Giroir, Sen. Mark Warner and Jennifer Granholm.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo: “Governor Cuomo Calls on the Federal Government to Take Action in Wake of Highly Contagious Variant of Covid-19 Virus Circulating in the United Kingdom.”

United Kingdom Public Health Agency.

BMJ: “Covid-19: New coronavirus variant is identified in UK.”

European Centre for Disease Prevention and also Control: “Threat Assessment Brief: Rapid increase of a SARS-CoV-2 variant with multiple spike protein mutations observed in the United Kingdom.”

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