Dec, 24th 2020 – The UK health Secretary has announced two cases have been detected of another new strain of the coronavirus. Both are contacts of cases who had travelled from South Africa over the past few weeks.
According to Matt Hancock, the new virus is highly concerning because it is yet more transmissible having mutated further than the new variant that has been discovered in the UK
Mr. Hancock says both the cases and close contacts have been quarantined. He commended South Africa’s transparency saying, “Thanks to the impressive genomic capability of the South Africans, we’ve detected two cases of another new variant of coronavirus here in the UK. Both are contacts of cases who have travelled from South Africa over the past few weeks.”
The UK is already on a fight to curb the spread of a separate mutated strain of the virus which could be up to 70 percent more transmissible as studies are being carried out.
Hancock said, “This new variant [from South Arica] is highly concerning, because it is yet more transmissible, and it appears to have mutated further than the new variant has been discovered in the UK.”
From the Public Health England,, Susan Hopkins said that the new varint is very different from the variant in South Africa as it has mutations.
She said, “Both of them look like they’re more transmissible. We have more evidence on the transmission for the UK variant because we’ve been studying that with great detail with academic partners. We’re still learning about the South African variant.”
There is immediate travel ban from South Africa and the government is advising those who have been in contact with anyone who has been in South Africa in the last fortnight to go into quarantine.
She expressed confidence that the vaccines developed should be effective because according her, “because the vaccine produces a strong immune response and it’s broad and acts against lots of variation in the virus”.
According to Hancock, the measures are temporary while investigation on the new strain is ongoing