Countries Ban Travel From U.K. Over New Covid-19 Strain

WSJ What's News


Scientists in the uk are racing to understand why a new strain of the crow virus in britain appears to be spreading much more quickly than earlier variants. It comes britain imposed fresh lockdowns across london and surrounding areas over the weekend and a growing number of countries in europe and beyond have banned travel from the uk for more. We go to our charlie turner who spoke with the journals. uk brexit editor. Stephen fiddler about the new strain of covid nineteen. So steve wynn was this variant. I identified it was first identified around september the twentieth in kent which is a county to the southeast of london and on the day after they found it in in london itself since then it's grown rapidly so about a month ago it was responsible for twenty percent or so of cases in london and the latest number. We have in london suggest. It's a responsible for sixty two percents of the cases there so it's spreading much more rapidly than the older versions and the government sort of estimates maybe seventy percent more rapidly than the earlier versions of the virus. What exactly do scientists say about how this variant spreads seems. To have happened is some new. -tations have changed the spike protein on the virus. Oh the depictions you say the virus of have this sort of crown type effect with spikes on the end of the spikes. The protein exists in that protein breaks down the cell walls and allows the virus to enter now. This variant appears to be more successful at breaking down the cell walls and therefore enters the the body more easily impacts with less of a kind of viral. Load if you like to to make that happen. It's not really clear how it works. But that seems to be one. Possible reason for its increased transmission. Is it more dangerous. There's no evidence to suggest as more dangerous at this moment. I mean there's still. I mean obviously still studies going on to look at it. There's no sign in london that hospitalizations have been increasing. All the deaths have been increasing though. It's early days or at least that they've been increasing faster than you would expect under the elder if it had been a lot of the old version of the virus so So far no evidence. That is more dangerous but the jury's still out the other big question always we seeing vaccines rollout is is whether it's likely defeat the vaccines that are coming on. That seems to be also for the moment. There's no evidence of that again. They'll need to do more work on it. There are several types of vaccines that are that our being developed. So even if it did. Effect will reduce the effectiveness of one of which is eaten so far no evidence than others mites Might be effective but still investigating. That steve are there any indications of spread outside the uk at this point. I think there are two things. The european center for disease control said today that had identified. It didn't denmark in the netherlands and a possibly in belgium a few cases. Something else that seems to have happened. Is that there are very similar. Variants that have arisen. Separately in places like south africa and elsewhere so it seems to be a similar mutation that could have arisen in different parts of the world around the same time and The south africans have said that version is all seems also increasing transmissibility. The virus in in south africa

Coming up next