New Delhi, Nov 26th : The Daily Mail reported that the first European case of the ultra-infectious, vaccine-resistant Botswana variant was confirmed in Belgium.Experts in the UK warned that it could already be present.On Friday, passengers flying from South Africa to the Netherlands were prohibited from getting off the plane.This was because the continent had tightened its borders to stop the strain, which scientists call the ‘worst ever’.
British passengers from the variant’s epicenter, Johannesburg, were allowed to mix with hundreds of other passengers on their flight to Heathrow for the last flights out Africa before the red listing was re-imposed at noon.According to the report, passengers said they weren’t questioned or tested about their travel history.
In a sombre statement to MPs in the House of Commons on Friday morning, the UK Health Secretary said the new B.1.1.529 strain — which has been spotted in Europe — posed a ‘substantial risk to public health’ and described its ultra-transmissibility and vaccine-dodging abilities as of ‘huge international concern’.
Adam Finn, a member the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, had previously raised the possibility of lockdown curbs being reintroduced.He warned that people should be prepared for a change in restrictions’ if this variant spreads to the UK.
Susan Hopkins, chief medical advisor of the UK’s Health and Security Agency UKHSA (UKHSA), stated that it is possible that the strain may have already entered Britain.
She stated that “people are coming every day” from Belgium, South Africa and Botswana to the UK, where the variant was officially detected.
The report said that around 10,000 people arrived in South Africa from the strain within the past two weeks.
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