The government have warned that people should be very concerned about a new strain of the Corona Virus.
The rapid spread of a new strain of coronavirus is about the worst news of the pandemic thus far, a government scientist has told Sky News. People living in the UK should be "very concerned" about the mutated strain of COVID-19 that's circulating in London and therefore the South East.
Professor Andrew Hayward of the government's New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG) said Stressing the importance of how easy this strain passes from person-to-person, he said: "This is terrible news in terms of the pandemic. If the vaccine is the best news, then this is often the worst news we've had thus far and that we need to tighten down the hatches to prevent the spread of this strain while vaccinating as many of us as possible."
On Saturday, the new variant - named VUI-202012/01 - saw the prime minister cancel Christmas for many people after he was advised it's up to 70% more transmissible.
Professor Hayward, director of the Institute of Epidemiology and Healthcare at University College London (UCL), told Sky News that this is often because the new strain leads to people having a way bigger viral load. He also stated that areas that haven't yet seen huge caseloads of the new strain are "around three weeks behind" those put into the toughest new Tier 4 restrictions over the weekend.
When asked how the new mutation was ready to thrive despite England's nationwide lockdown in November, Professor Hayward said the restrictions were "less intense" and people's attitudes to them were "less stringent". even though we had relatively strong measures that were enough to suppress the previous virus, they weren't enough to prevent this one. He said if the United Kingdom is to mitigate "many, more deaths" as a result of VUI-202012/01, people have to reduce their contacts with others over the Christmas period. Some nations banned to visit the United Kingdom to prevent the new strain getting into their country, Professor Hayward suggested the United Kingdom should "take its action" to shut its borders. He rejected claims that said the government's action on the new strain has been "too slow", saying his NERVTAG committee first discussed it on 11 December. "it's not fair to mention the government has been slow to act on this. It's more an issue of what proportion further we'd like to act," he said. Boris Johnson will chair a gathering of the government's Cobra committee later to debate risks of food shortages over the festive period after France banned all freight coming into the United Kingdom.