Covid-19 Mutation

Regional News • Europe • Germany
UK Covid-19 variant detected for the first time in Berlin

According to a study by In Berlin, the new variant of the coronavirus from Great Britain has been detected for the first time. This was announced by the Senate Health Administration on Friday. The affected person and other ill contact persons his recovered in the meantime. Possible further contact persons are still being searched for. from German A few days ago, Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) said that the new virus variant was not very widespread in Germany so far. At least according to current knowledge, it looks like the measures taken have prevented the new form from spreading, Spahn said in Berlin on Wednesday.

Health
Study: BioNTech vaccine effective against mutation
Study: BioNTech vaccine effective against mutation
Credit: Ashles Winkler for Pendect

The corona vaccine developed by BioNTech and Pfizer also protects against a mutation of the virus that has emerged in the UK and South Africa, according to a new study. The variants of the virus first discovered in the UK and South Africa feature a mutation that did not block the vaccine in the study. The study was published on the Internet for researchers and has not yet been reviewed by experts.

The mutation, called N501Y, is a slight change in a site of the spike protein on the surface of the virus. This change is thought to be the reason why the two variants can spread so quickly. Most vaccines being rolled out around the world teach the bodies of those vaccinated to recognize and fight the spike protein.

Regional News • World
Both UK and South Africa Covid-19 variants found in Finland

Finland has confirmed that one person tested positive for the new UK Covid-19 strain and two people tested positive for the South African variant. At least a dozen countries have confirmed cases of both new variants.

Regional News • Europe • Austria
Hundreds of British tourists disappeared from Swiss quarantine
Hundreds of British tourists disappeared from Swiss quarantine
Credit: unsplash.com / Catharina Short Sundberg

Hundreds of British tourists have disappeared during the night from the Swiss ski resort Verbier despite being in mandatory quarantine because of the new Covid-19 variant.

Authorities had identified 420 guests from Britain who had been quarantined before Christmas, he said. About 50 left immediately, he said, and of the 370 others, less than a dozen were still there on Sunday.

Some have since reported back from France, Jean-Marc Sandoz, spokesman for the municipality of Bagnes, to which Verbier belongs, said today.

Regional News • World
Newly discovered South African Covid-19 strain may be "more effective at spreading"
Newly discovered South African Covid-19 strain may be "more effective at spreading"
Credit: Illustration by Ashley Winkler for Pendect (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The newly discovered South African variant of Covid-19 seems to be "more effective at spreading" and might be slightly more resistant to vaccines, South African scientists believe.

"Putting our data together with that in the UK, this [South African] variant is a bit more effective at spreading from person to person and that is not good. It means we have to get a bit better at stopping it," so Dr. Richard Lessells who is one of the specialists leading the research into the new mutation. "Ours raises a few more concerns for a vaccine [than the UK variant] … Another worry is reinfection. We are currently doing the careful, methodical work in the laboratory to answer all the questions we have and that takes time."

Health
Drugmaker Roche says Covid-19 test can detect new strain

Both the drugmaker Roche and the United Kingdom have assured that diagnostic tests used to detect Covid-19 were able to detect the new mutant strain. Roche is conducting further tests its rapid antibody test and will share their findings "as soon as these indications have concluded".

Regional News • Middle East
UK Coronavirus strain detected in Israel
UK Coronavirus strain detected in Israel
Credit: Talmoryair, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Four cases of the new potent Coronavirus strain have been detected in Israel, the country's health ministry reported Wednesday. Three of the cases had just returned from England. They are isolating at a hotel that is used as a coronavirus quarantine facility. The new strain has first emerged in the United Kingdom.

Regional News • Africa
South Africa: New Coronavirus strain, unrelated to UK strain

Another new variant of the coronavirus was discovered in South Africa that is unrelated to the one found in the UK. The new strain, known as 501.V2, is causing a rise in new infections in the country.

Professor Salim Abdool Karim, chairman of the government’s Ministerial Advisory Committee: “It is still very early but at this stage, the preliminary data suggests the virus that is now dominating in the second wave is spreading faster than the first wave.”

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
Virgin Atlantic passengers require negative Covid-19 tests to fly from London to US
Virgin Atlantic passengers require negative Covid-19 tests to fly from London to US
Credit: Alan Wilson, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

Virgin Atlantic has announced that all passengers travelling from London to the United States will be required to show proof of a negative Covid-19 vaccine. The new requirement will go in effect on December 24.

“With the health and safety of our customers and people always our number one priority, we will require all travellers to present evidence of a negative LAMP or PCR Covid-19 test, taken up to 72 hours prior to departure, including on-site at the airport,” Virgin said in a statement.

Regional News • Oceania
2 cases of new UK Covid-19 strain detected in Australia
2 cases of new UK Covid-19 strain detected in Australia
Credit: unsplash/Fusion Medical Animation

Two travellers from the United Kingdom were found to be infected with the newly detected UK Covid-19 strain after arriving in New South Wales, Australia. The two individuals have been placed in hotel quarantine.

Regional News • World
More than 40 countries ban British flights over new Covid-19 strain, EU members discuss co-ordinate response

More than 40 countries have imposed a ban on UK arrivals, include Belgium, Canada, India, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Russia, and Switzerland. On Monday, European Union member states meet to discuss a co-ordinated response and France is planning to establish a protocol "to ensure movement from the UK can resume.

Regional News • Middle East
Saudi Arabia suspends all international flights for a week
Saudi Arabia suspends all international flights for a week
Credit: Stefan Krasowski from New York, NY, USA, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Saudi Arabia has suspended all international flights for travellers, as well as entry through land and seaports for a week following the detection of a faster-spreading Covid-19 variant in the United Kingdom.

Regional News • World
Canada, Ireland and several other countries also halt flights from UK over new Covid-19 variant
Canada, Ireland and several other countries also halt flights from UK over new Covid-19 variant
Credit: unsplash/Daniel Klein

More countries are banning flights from the UK after the discovery of a new Covid-19 variant that is said to spread much faster. Canada is banning UK travellers for at least 72 hours. Several South American countries followed suit on Sunday, including Argentina, Chile and Colombia. British flights are banned from landing in the Republic of Ireland on Monday and Tuesday. After France suspended travel from and to the UK, both the Eurotunnel and Port of Dover were closed.

Health
One person in Italy tests positive for the British Covid-19 variant
One person in Italy tests positive for the British Covid-19 variant
Credit: Ashley Winkler for Pendect

The scientific department of the Celio military polyclinic, which is collaborating with the Higher Institute of Health in this emergency, has sequenced the genome of the Sars-Cov-2 virus from a subject who tested positive with the variant found in recent weeks in Great Britain.

The patient, and his partner, who returned from the UK on a flight that landed at Fiumicino airport in Rome in the last few days, are in isolation "and have followed, together with other family members and close contacts, all the procedures established by the Ministry of Health". Several experts agree on this last point, from the president of the Higher Health Council Franco Locatelli to virologist Fabrizio Pregliasco and Giacomo Gorini, a researcher at Oxford University's Jenner Institute.

Health
Several European countries halt landing of British flights after detection of new virus mutation
Several European countries halt landing of British flights after detection of new virus mutation
Credit: unsplash.com / Daniel Klein

After a new strain of Covid-19 was detected in the UK, several European countries have imposed a landing ban on British flights. Trains to Belgium have also been banned.

The Netherlands have banned British Flights until January 1. Italy's foreign minister has announced that his government joins the ban on flights. Austria and Germany are planning to impose similar measures, but no immediate details are currently known.

Health
New Covid-19 strain detected in United Kingdom possibly up to 70% more transmissible
New Covid-19 strain detected in United Kingdom possibly up to 70% more transmissible
Credit: Ashley Winkler for Pendect

A Covid-19 variant discovered in England is massively accelerating the spread of the virus. According to experts, the mutation could also be responsible for the increase in Germany.

According to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the new variant of the coronavirus discovered in Great Britain is, according to initial findings, significantly more contagious than the known form. But there was no evidence that vaccines were less effective, Johnson told reporters in London.

Health
Denmark: Mutated Covid-19 version from mink found in 214 people

Mink variants of the Covid-19 virus have been found in 214 people in Denmark. 200 people are infected with these variants in the North Jutland Region, while 14 others are infected outside North Jutland. These are different variants of the virus, where the virus is mutated in mink, and then passed on to humans.

The so-called cluster 5 variant is the most prevalent and has been found on five mink farms in twelve affected people. So far no evidence of reduced sensitivity to antibodies has been found, but it will take most likely weeks before studies show more conclusive results.

Health
Following fears of a mutated Covid-19 version, Denmark announces cull of 15 million mink
Following fears of a mutated Covid-19 version, Denmark announces cull of 15 million mink
Credit: unsplash.com / Jo-Anne McArthur

The Danish prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, has announced that twelve people have been infected with a mutated version of Covid-19 that has been transmitted from mink to human. The mutated Covid-19 version is feared to be a greater public health risk and could cause possible interference with a future vaccine.

The entire Danish herd of 15 million mink will therefore be culled to prevent the mutated Covid-19 version from spreading further.