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UK Christmas canceled? Everything to know about holiday lockdown

2020, to the surprise of no one, has one last horrific surprise to close out the year. COVID-19, the global pandemic that we all are currently battling, has undergone a mutation. This mutation for COVID-19, active since Sept. 2020, led the UK into another major lockdown to close out the year. Basically, London is a ghost town now. Christmas is canceled in the UK. 

What does this new COVID-19 mutation do, exactly? Well, this new variant, which is dubbed “VUI – 202012/01” has mutated so that it can be spread more easily between people. Basically, this strain of COVID-19, which is responsible for a rise of cases in London, Kent, and Essex, has a higher infection rate. It’s “70 percent more transmissible than the earlier version of the disease,” according to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

According to the World Health Organization’s chief of emergencies, Dr. Michael Ryan, mutations like this are common. He stressed that, while people are studying the new strain and keeping an eye on things, it doesn’t seem to be deadlier then the non-mutated strain. Good news also, the COVID-19 vaccines should be able to handle this strain as well. Or, so, people are theorizing at this point in time. 

Either way, London along with much of Southeast and East England was forced into a new lockdown in order to minimize the spread of this new mutated strain. More troubling, 60 percent of the new cases have been pointed back to the new strain in the UK. The new lockdown started on Saturday, Dec 19 and will be in effect for two weeks in order to corral and control the spread of the mutated COVID-19.

Residents in the lockdown affected areas of the UK are asked to cancel any holiday travel plans and travel. Basically, if you’re under the UK lockdown, then you should stay in your home and only leave for work, exercise, or childcare. Non-essential businesses are also to be closed until Dec. 30. Unfortunately, it looks like that Christmas is on lockdown in the UK 

What does it mean for the rest of the world? Currently, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland have closed their borders to travelers from the UK in the hopes to stop the spread of the new mutated variant of COVID-19. At the time of this writing, however, the U.S. has seen no reason to halt flights to and from the UK.

New York governor Andrew Cuomo, however, had this to say, “Right now, this variant in the UK is getting on a plane and flying to JFK. Literally six flights a day. And all it takes is one person.” He also said that it was “gross negligent” of the federal government to allow UK travelers into the country without, at least, having a COVID-19 test. 

In addition to the UK, the variant strain has been found in Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands and Australia, according to WHO. In addition to all of this, there’s a different similar variant in South Africa, which is quickly spreading around the coastal regions. Again, at this time, health officials have seen no marked increase in mortality from this new strain. Again, they also believed that the developed vaccines will work on it. 

It may not be a great Christmas in lockdown over in the UK, but, by doing so, you are helping stop the spread of this new variant of COVID-19. Just follow any guidelines that have been laid out for you and try to ride it out over the holidays. 

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