With the origination of the new strain of the Covid-19 (SARS-CoV-2) in the United Kingdom, most of the nations with scheduled departures and arrivals of the flights from the nation have cancelled the operations with immediate effect. This time the administrations have responded sooner-than-expected as compared to the time taken by the authorities when the coronavirus pandemic first erupted.
Flights halted to and from the UK
Following the information of the new strain of coronavirus, the nations that have cancelled or partially halted their arrivals and departures to and from the United Kingdom include France, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, Turkey, India, Poland, Austria, Finland and Switzerland. Out of the aforementioned list, Italy, Ireland, Germany, France and the Netherlands were the countries that reacted swiftly on Sunday, 20 December itself.
Other than this, the France administration has also barred the freight transport for a 48-hour window that includes freight and people arriving into France from the United Kingdom from Monday, 21 December.
According to the government of the United Kingdom, the new variant of the coronavirus is easily transmissible as compared to the previously-existing strains of the virus. Till now there is no indication that tells of the severity or mortality of the strain; however, the rate of infection has spiralled “faster-than-expected” in the geographical areas where this strain has been circulating, the government said citing the data received by the Whole Genome Sequencing, epidemiology and modelling.
As per the backwards tracing data revealed by the Government of the United Kingdom, the new variant of the virus transmitted at “very low levels” until mid-November after emerging in September 2020.The medical authorities of the UK have recently discovered a cluster associated with the new strain of coronavirus that is rapidly spreading into London and Essex.
The feasibility of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine towards this virus can’t be ascertained as of now. However, there is no evidence that casts a doubt over the viability of the vaccine in protecting against the new strain, the government said.
A tough moment in testing times
Britain, being the first nation to authorise the emergency usage of the Pfizer-BioNTech made Covid-19 vaccine, has now been gripped with the new strain of the virus, at a time when the nation is already struggling to contain the spread of disease and managing to crack a conclusive trade arrangement with the European Union before the end of Brexit transition deadline of 31 December.