Lockdown in the UK: Where did the new COVID-19 strain come from?
COVID-19 has made our year a living hell, and now, it’s mutating. The UK’s recent lockdown has been a result of the latest mutation entering the UK’s borders. According to the BBC, COVID-19 has caused all UK visitors from South Africa to be banned from re-entering the country. This was announced after a new strain of COVID-19 was found in South Africa.
And just in time for the Christmas season, the UK lockdown has become stricter thanks to this new mutation. The latest COVID-19 case in the UK has raised a lot of questions about where the new variants & numbers came from. Since the first travel ban was lifted, the UK has experienced a new kind of COVID-19, a mutated strain that allegedly spreads faster and could be resistant to new vaccines.
The UK’s Department for Transport stated the new ban presents a new “increased risk” from the unknown variant of COVID-19. We have all the information about the UK’s lockdown below.
COVID-19: UK confirms two cases of another new variant linked to South Africa https://t.co/LaBCwWU9oM
— Sky News (@SkyNews) December 23, 2020
South Africa & COVID-19
Sky News reported that two COVID-19 cases came from two London travellers from South Africa at the beginning of the month. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said in a news conference on Thursday, December 24th: while the COVID-19 patients are quarantining, it doesn’t stop the risk that other travellers from South Africa may carry.
According to the BBC, although UK citizens have contracted the mutated coronavirus, Professor Ravi Gupta at the University of Cambridge stated it’s “no coincidence” that these infected travellers came from South Africa. The professor claims South Africa is a location that has a lot of “genomic sequencing”, or mutations in COVID-19.
South African scientists are still analyzing the COVID-19 data but have no final result about the cause of the rapid local mutation. Although South Africa may be the latest hotspot of COVID-19, European countries have also identified this new strain of COVID-19 according to the BBC. These countries include Denmark & the Netherlands.
The Irish Times claimed the South African variant of COVID-19 is “more transmissible” than any previous strand of COVID-19. The most interesting part of the mutation is that young people are getting hit much harder than before and may even be resistant to current vaccines. Luckily, scientists are studying the mutation and we will hopefully have more information in the new year.
The latest COVID-19 mutation is called N501Y and according to the BBC, it’s the main element that causes infection.
The lockdown in the UK is said to help citizens prevent the newest form of COVID-19 but the mutation’s contagious speed is growing rapidly. According to the BBC, the mutation has an “evolutionary advantage” as it continues to grow and change before scientists can come up with a reason why.
Professor Conor stated COVID-19 has had “twenty-three separate mutations” and seventeen of those mutations came from the original proteins from the virus.
The UK has been under a major threat with the rapid growth of COVID-19. According to the Office for National Statistics the amount of COVID-19 cases have risen to approximately 650,000 people. However, cases in Scotland have decreased with only “one in 140 people” infected with COVID-19 compared to England with “one in eighty-five people”.
The BBC reported UK visa holders or permanent residents within South Africa won’t be placed under the new UK travel ban. The UK travel ban will start at 9 a.m. GMT on Christmas Eve. Those that wish to leave the country will have to wait for UK lockdown to end.
Irish & British travellers don’t need to worry about re-entering their country but are required to self-isolate for at least ten days or more. The UK government has informed those within South African borders to self-isolate immediately to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The UK will experience multiple tiers of lockdown over the Christmas season but the highest form of lockdown, tier four, will be placed over Sussex, Oxfordshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Waverley in Surrey, Hampshire but excluding New Forest by Midnight on Saturday, December 26th.
The UK lockdown will mostly impact parts of England under tier 4, but the British government is confident the number of COVID-19 cases will decrease for a safer, happier new year. Let us know what you think about the latest mutation in the comments below.