A deadly COVID-19 strain believed to be 70 percent more infectious has surfaced in the United Kingdom eliciting fears of another intense phase of the virus.
This has prompted many countries, including Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Austria, Belgium and Israel to ban flights from the United Kingdom due to fears over a new variant of the coronavirus.
These countries made the announcement after the Dutch government confirmed at least one case of the same mutation that has prompted parts of Britain to return to lockdown rules.
The country’s health ministry said the case in Holland had been identified at the beginning of December and was being investigated.
“An infectious mutation of the COVID-19 virus is circulating in the United Kingdom. It is said to spread more easily and faster and is more difficult to detect,” the Dutch health ministry said in a statement.
The UK recorded a further 35,928 of coronavirus cases in the latest 24-hour period. Another 326 deaths have been announced within 28 days of a positive test.
When asked about the time-frame of the Tier 4 restrictions, which effectively put parts of the UK back into the lockdown seen in Spring, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Given how much faster this new variant spreads, it’s going to be very difficult to keep it under control until we have the vaccine rolled out.”Hancock added what really mattered “is that people not only follow [the new Tier 4 measures], but everybody in a Tier 4 area act as if you have the virus to stop spreading it to other people. (…) We just know that this new variant, you can catch it more easily from a smaller amount of the virus being present.”