EU officers are discussing a joint response to a brand new, extra infectious Covid-19 variant within the UK, which has sparked journey bans by many international locations.
Canada and India joined European states in blocking flights from the UK whereas Europe-bound practice companies through the Channel Tunnel have been halted.
The brand new variant is alleged to be as much as 70% extra transmissible however there isn’t any proof that it’s extra lethal.
There may be additionally no proof to recommend that it reacts otherwise to vaccines.
French Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari mentioned a protocol can be agreed inside hours on the European Council assembly of presidency representatives to “make sure that motion from the UK can resume”.
There may be an urge for food in Brussels for a extra co-ordinated response partly as a result of the EU felt that at the start of the pandemic earlier within the 12 months the member states had adopted an “every-country-for-itself” method which threatened the very concept of European co-operation, BBC Europe Correspondent Kevin Connolly writes.
UK Well being Secretary Matt Hancock advised BBC Information earlier that the brand new variant was “uncontrolled”, whereas Denmark, Italy and the Netherlands introduced they’d already detected it.
Additionally on Monday, the EU’s medicines regulator is anticipated to advocate approving the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine to be used in all 27 states.
The European Medicines Company (EMA) is assembly every week early to resolve on the vaccine which is already being administered within the UK and within the US.
If it provides the inexperienced mild, official approval from the European Fee is anticipated to comply with on Wednesday and vaccine distribution could start in some EU states as early as Sunday.
Which international locations have acted and the way?
France suspended all journey hyperlinks, together with freight lorries, with the UK for 48 hours from midnight (23:00 GMT) on Sunday. Hundreds of lorries transfer between the international locations day by day.
Eurotunnel mentioned it will droop entry to its Folkestone terminal for visitors heading to Calais. Folks booked to journey on Monday can get a refund. Trains will nonetheless run from Calais to Folkestone.
The ferry terminal at Dover is now closed for all accompanied traffic leaving the UK until further notice due to the French restrictions. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will chair a Cobra emergency response meeting to debate the difficulty on Monday.
Different international locations took completely different motion in response to the brand new virus variant:
- Poland and Romania, which have giant communities within the UK, each suspended flights from Britain
- Sweden, Finland, Croatia, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have additionally suspended flights from the UK
- Denmark suspended flights from the UK for 48 hours starting at 09:00 GMT on Monday
- The Netherlands is banning all passenger flights from the UK till 1 January “on the newest”. Ferry passengers arriving from the UK can even be barred, though freight will proceed
- Within the Republic of Eire, flights arriving from Britain are banned for 48 hours no less than from midnight on Sunday and other people have been requested to not “journey to Eire, by air or sea”. Ferry crossings for freight will proceed
- In Germany, planes from the UK haven’t been allowed to land since midnight on Sunday, though cargo is exempt
- Belgium halted flights and trains from the UK from midnight for no less than 24 hours
- Italy blocked all flights from the UK till 6 January
- Austria will ban flights from the UK from 23:00 GMT on Monday and anybody arriving within the nation earlier than that time should quarantine for 10 days
- Bulgaria has suspended flights to and from the UK from midnight with the ban to proceed till 31 January
- Turkey has quickly banned all flights from the UK as has Switzerland
- Canada has suspended entry of all passenger flights from the UK for 72 hours, efficient from midnight (05:00 GMT). Passengers who arrived in Canada from the UK on Sunday can be “topic to secondary screening and enhanced measures, together with elevated scrutiny of quarantine plans”, it mentioned.
- Russia is suspending flights from the UK for one week
- India is suspending flights from the UK from 23:59 (18:29 GMT) on Tuesday till 31 December
- Hong Kong, Israel, Iran, Croatia, Morocco and Kuwait introduced in restrictions on UK journey
- In Latin America, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador and Peru all banned flights from the UK
- Saudi Arabia has suspended all worldwide flights for one week due to the pandemic
What do we all know in regards to the new variant?
The brand new variant was first detected in September. In November it made up round 1 / 4 of circumstances in London. This reached almost two-thirds of circumstances in mid-December.
Three issues are coming collectively that imply it’s attracting consideration:
- It’s quickly changing different variations of the virus
- It has mutations that have an effect on a part of the virus prone to be vital
- A few of these mutations have already been proven within the lab to extend the power of the virus to contaminate cells
All of those come collectively to construct a case for a virus that may unfold extra simply. Nevertheless, we don’t have absolute certainty. New strains can turn out to be extra frequent just by being in the appropriate place on the proper time – similar to London.
This variant is unusually extremely mutated. The most definitely rationalization is it emerged in a affected person with a weakened immune system that was unable to beat the virus.
There isn’t a proof but to recommend the variant makes the an infection extra lethal, and no less than for now the developed vaccines will nearly actually work in opposition to it.
Nevertheless, if the virus modifications so it dodges the complete impact of the vaccine, then “vaccine escape” occurs, and this can be essentially the most regarding ingredient.
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