Covid-19 variant: Scientists call for UK lockdown

The new variant of COVID-19 is spreading rapidly in European countries. Cases of the new variant were reported from 

Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland on Saturday. All the new cases were linked to people who had a travel history of the UK.

Taking precautions, Japan declared a ban on new entries of foreign nationals from Monday. Japan announced banning foreigners after the discovery of a new variant in travelers from the UK.

England has imposed the strictest COVID level on Boxing Day. Further, six million people in the east and south-east England had tier 4 conditions. To be noted, around 24 million people in England, more than 40% of the population, live in tier 4. It is being advised that the whole country be put in this category.

Scientists have urged that all regions of England be placed in tier 4. For your information, tier 4, meaning that non-essential shops, hairdressers, and leisure and entertainment venues must close. Tier 4 should include enhanced travel restrictions. They also suggested that an emergency plan be introduced to enable safe education in January and February.

The teaching unions have sought that schools be closed as the new virus variant is more infectious.

A new variant case has also been discovered in France. A French citizen who has a travel history of London has been contracted with the new variant.

Three cases of the new variant were recently discovered in Madrid, Spain. The cases have been detected in people who had arrived from the UK on Christmas Eve. The fourth case was also has a connection with the UK. All these patients are not seriously ill.

On Saturday, a further 161 people who had tested positive for Covid-19 have died in the UK. All these patients were aged 44- 100 years old. The total number of confirmed deaths in hospitals in England is 48,311.

COVID new variant background

As the world is facing COVID-19, a new, more infectious COVID-19 variant has been identified in the United Kingdom (UK), which has sparked travel bans by many countries. According to medical specialists: “New variant can spread more quickly” and was responsible for 60% of new infections in London.”

British Prime Minister was scheduled to chair an emergency meeting on Monday after a new COVID-19 variant led to border shutdown.

Taking the new variant of coronavirus seriously, British travelers are being cut off from much of Europe and other parts of the world as countries imposed restrictions on travel from the UK.

After the identification, France announced a temporary ban on all travel and accompanied freight on Sunday night. It is a potential disaster for UK exporters who rely on trade with Europe. 

It is to be noted that Christmas and the end of the Brexit transition period raised concerns about food and medicine shortages in the UK at a critical time.

Followed by France, dozens of countries across Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas announced travel bans for the UK. Greece and Spain have also imposed restrictions that require travelers arriving from Britain to undergo coronavirus tests or quarantine.

Canada, too announced a travel ban from midnight Sunday for at least 72 hours. Canadian PM Justin Trudeau said the decision was made to keep Canadians across the country safe.

Hong Kong became the first place in Asia to restrict British travelers on Monday. It halted all passenger flights from Tuesday and banned all passengers who stayed in the UK for more than two hours in the past 14 days from arriving in the city.

In the Middle East, flights from the UK were also barred in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Israel.

After the new variant, countries closed their borders to travelers from the UK, including the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Italy, France, Sweden, Luxembourg, the Republic of Ireland, Estonia, and the Czech Republic.

The Indian government too banned flights from the UK till December 31. The ban will start from Wednesday, and all passengers arriving from the UK before then will be tested on arrival at airports.