New COVID variant: Javid says UK must move rapidly to address the public health threat
According to the health secretary, the new COVID version spreading in South Africa, which has caused UK travel restrictions, is a major international issue.
“We must move fast and at the earliest feasible moment,” Sajid Javid said.
He believes it will be more transmissible, vaccines will be less effective, and one of the UK’s main therapies, Ronapreve, will be affected.
In the UK, no occurrences of the variation have yet been discovered. Mr Javid told the House of Commons that the B.1.1.529 variety had already spread to other nations, including South Africa and Botswana, where confirmed cases had been detected.
Travellers from these countries, as well as Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, and Eswatini, must self-isolate for ten days, with those arriving after 04:00 GMT on Sunday being obliged to quarantine in a hotel.
All flights from the six nations have been halted until the hotel quarantine system is fully functional. So far, only 59 examples of the variation have been documented in South Africa, Hong Kong, and Botswana, with one case involving a foreigner reported in Israeli media.
According to scientists, the version includes 50 mutations in total, with more than 30 of them in the spike protein, which is the target of most vaccinations and the key that the virus uses to gain access to our cells.
Non-UK and Irish residents who have spent the previous 10 days in any of the six countries will be barred from entering England starting at noon. Residents of the United Kingdom and Ireland who arrive after 04:00 GMT on Sunday will be required to quarantine at a hotel, while those who return before that will be urged to isolate at home.
People returning from the six countries on the red list will be asked to perform a PCR test to see if they have been exposed to the virus. Japan, the Netherlands, Singapore, Italy, France, Israel, and Germany have all imposed travel restrictions on countries in southern Africa, joining the UK.
Meanwhile, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, has proposed that all flights from the region be halted across the EU.