London: At a time when the world is already facing a new strain of deadly Coronavirus, Britain on Wednesday announced travel restrictions on the backdrop of yet another variant of the novel virus – making it the third so far. Two cases of another new strain of COVID-19 linked to South Africa have been identified in the UK, Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed earlier in the day. ALSO READ | WHO Calls On All Nations To Report Detection Of New Coronavirus Strains
Just like the second variant, the newly found strain of Coronavirus is also driving a massive resurgence of the disease in South Africa. Health experts have stated that the country is probably facing a much larger second wave.
“Both [cases of the new variant] are contacts of cases who have travelled from South Africa over the past few weeks,” Hancock told reporters in London. “This new variant is highly concerning because it is yet more transmissible and it appears to have mutated further than the new variant that has been discovered in the UK,” he said.
Apart from travel restrictions, the UK government has also asked people to go into home quarantine for two weeks in case they have been in contact from anyone who had been in South Africa lately. “They must restrict all contact with any other person whatsoever,” Hancock said.
As per reports, UK Health Minister has confirmed immediate restrictions on travel from South Africa and the government’s urgent message being for anyone who has been in South Africa or been in contact with someone linked with the country in the last fortnight to immediately quarantine.
Meanwhile, the analysis on the new mutation and its trajectory in the UK is being monitored by scientific experts at Porton Down, the country’s specialist laboratory in south west England.
As a result, even more parts of the UK are set to be put under the strictest level of lockdown after ministers held talks earlier on Wednesday following the UK registering 36,804 positive coronavirus cases, the largest daily number of infections recorded at any time during the pandemic.
At least 50 nations have imposed their own travel restrictions on the UK, including France.
The briefing comes as the new variant identified in the UK last week, named VUI-202012/01 and with much higher transmissibility, led to several countries including India cutting off transport links with the UK in an effort to try and contain its spread outside Britain.
UK government has announced strict expansion of lockdown measures across further parts of the south of England in order to contain the spread of the disease. As many as 68,000 deaths has been reported in the country, making it one of the hardest hit nations in Europe.
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