Countries impose travel bans to isolate Britain’s mutated coronavirus strain | DW News

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  • DW News published this video item, entitled “Countries impose travel bans to isolate Britain’s mutated coronavirus strain | DW News” – below is their description.

    Countries across the globe have closed their borders to entrants from the United Kingdom as fears continued to grow over the emergence of a new variant of the coronavirus that has been circulating around Britain. It began with the Netherlands over the weekend reacting to the UK announcement regarding the new strain. A number of other European nations, such as Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Romania and Ireland then followed suit by banning passenger flights from Britain.

    So what do we know about the new virus mutation?

    Over the weekend, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the fast-moving new variant of the virus is 70% more transmissible than existing strains, and appears to be driving a rapid spike in new infections in London and southern England. However, “there’s no evidence to suggest it is more lethal or causes more severe illness,” or that vaccines would be less effective against it, he said. Britain has alerted the World Health Organization that the new strain — identified last week — is the likely cause of the surge in infections, accounting for around 60% of London’s cases. Just over 1,100 COVID-19 cases with the new variant had been identified as of Sunday, according to a statement from Public Health England. The strain was also detected in South Africa last week.

    Virus mutations are not unusual, and scientists have already found thousands of different mutations among coronavirus samples. However, the majority of these mutations have no effect on how easily the virus spreads or the severity of the symptoms. Last month, millions of mink were discovered to be carrying a variant of COVID-19. In October, researchers also found evidence that a coronavirus variant had originated in Spain and spread through Europe. However, neither of the strains were found to increase the spread of the disease. When the UK’s new strain was first detected last week, health officials were debating whether the rapid spread of the virus was due to widespread carelessness or the contagiousness of the strain itself. After further investigation, scientists found that the new strain is, in fact, significantly more transmissible.

    Researchers are still evaluating whether the strain will be more or less receptive to the vaccines currently being rolled out. No formal conclusions have been made, although health authorities have said it is unlikely that the mutation would hinder the vaccines’ effectiveness. Richard Neher of the University of Basel’s Biozentrum in Switzerland has said vaccines generate an immune response against several virus characteristics at the same time. Therefore, even if one of those characteristics changes, the immune system would still be able to recognize the pathogen and protect the vaccine recipient.

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    In This Story: Belgium

    Belgium, officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe. It is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the southwest, and the North Sea to the northwest.

    It covers an area of 30,689 km2 (11,849 sq mi) and has a population of more than 11.5 million, making it the 22nd most densely populated country in the world and the 6th most densely populated country in Europe, with a density of 376 per square kilometre (970/sq mi). The capital and largest city is Brussels; other major cities are Antwerp, Ghent, Charleroi, Liège, Bruges, Namur, and Leuven.

    Legally, Belgium is a sovereign state and a federal constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system. Its institutional organization is complex and is structured on both regional and linguistic grounds. It is divided into three highly autonomous regions: the Flemish Region in the north, Wallonia in the south, and the Brussels-Capital Region.

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    • a high temperature (e.g. head feels warm to the touch)
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