The Italian Ministry of Health has confirmed a case in Rome. WHO and ECDC now refer to cases in Denmark, the Netherlands, and Australia.
Last Monday, the United Kingdom warned of a new coronavirus strain circulating very quickly in the country. After the high numbers of infections in recent days, Britain has decided to take rapid measures to prevent the disease from spreading at the speed of light. On December 20, the region has registered its record of infections in a single day since the beginning of the health crisis: almost 36,000 new positives and 326 deaths. The new data increases the total number of coronavirus cases to 2,040,147 and deaths to 67,401.
WHO refers to cases in Denmark, the Netherlands and Australia
Despite this development, no other country has reported the new mutation of the virus, while experts say it must have started to spread in other countries. Furthermore, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Agency for Disease Control (ECDC) confirm that nine cases have already been registered in Denmark, one in the Netherlands and one in Australia.
Italy confirms a case in Rome
The Italian Ministry of Health has confirmed a new case with this coronavirus variant in the country, saying, "The Scientific Department of Celio Military Polyclinic, cooperating with the National Health Institute (ISS) in this emergency, has sequenced the genome of the SARS-CoV-2 from a subject who tested positive for the virus variation found in Britain in recent weeks,"
A Rome resident, the person has returned from the United Kingdom in recent days. Both the patient and his partner, who also traveled to Britain, are in isolation and have followed, along with other relatives and close contacts, all the Ministry of Health procedures.
Following the latest information on the new strain, all those who have been in Great Britain in the 14 days before December 20 have been banned from entering the country. For now, this restriction will be active until next January 6.
Relationship between the increase in cases and the new strain
Daniel Prieto Alhambra, professor of pharmaco-epidemiology at the University of Oxford, has granted this Sunday an interview to RAC1, where he has corroborated the information from the WHO and the ECDC.
To a Spanish radio station, Prieto Alhambra explained that a month ago there was already talk in the scientific field of a possible mutation of the virus, which would now be more contagious, a change that would have been detected in several European countries.
"The new strain may be running throughout Europe."
"For a month there was already talk in the scientific field of a possible mutation of the virus, which would now be more contagious, a change that would have been detected in several European countries," said the expert.
"It is still too early to say if this mutation is the cause of the sudden increase in cases in London, Germany, Italy or Spain, but it is almost certain that it is already present in several European countries", Prieto Alhambra has warned.
A mutation of protein S
Regarding the origin of the new strain, the also member of the council that advises the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has revealed: "It is a mutation of protein S that makes the virus stick more and better, and that it play faster".
Increase the number of vaccines
Although the new strain, named 'VUI 202012/01', is still under investigation, Prieto assures: "It would be necessary to vaccinate more people than expected now to achieve the so-called herd immunity. It is safer to get immunity by getting vaccinated than by getting infected", he declared.
As for the United Kingdom, which began two weeks ago with the vaccination campaign, the expert believes that the effects of the vaccine should begin to be noticed soon: "Within a month and a half we should have the capacity to reduce the number of hospitalizations and deaths".
Finally, he trusts that the Oxford vaccine will be the key to ending COVID-19: "The Oxford vaccine is the one that will change everything because it is easy to move and preserve and it is the one that will make it reach everyone", has concluded for RAC1.
Several countries close communications with the United Kingdom
After learning about the rapid transmission of the 'VUI 202012/01' strain and its possible appearance in other European countries, Austria, the Netherlands, Italy and Belgium have closed flights with the United Kingdom, while Spain, Germany, Ireland or France could join anytime soon.