According to the latest information, 33 countries have claimed to have detected the presence of the new variant of the coronavirus, B.1.1.7 in their territory.
As a reminder, this variant of Sars-CoV-2 was detected for the first time in the United Kingdom in September, but was not officially confirmed until December. The country has since implemented more stringent measures to limit its spread, but that has not stopped the virus from spreading.
This new year therefore begins with sad news with these confirmed cases of infection with the variant B.1.1.7 , which seem to be linked to a passage of these people in the United Kingdom. The various affected countries respectively took the measures they deemed appropriate, ranging from the closure of flights from abroad to the isolation of confirmed cases and their entourage.
New cases identified in about thirty countries after three months
Dr Erik Voltz, a public health teacher at Imperial College, suggested that the B.1.1.7 variant could be 70% more transmissible than the classic strain of the COVID-19 virus. However, this is only a hypothesis. And in his words "it is too early to say it".
Much of the 32 countries – removing the UK where the variant was first identified – claim that those affected have come or been in contact with people from the initial outbreak of B.1.1.7 .
However, in some countries such as the United States, Colorado, or Ontario, Canada, the infected have had no contact or travel abroad. This could imply that the variant was contracted after having already transmitted itself several times.
Affected countries adopt various measures to limit its spread
The measures taken to deal with the situation are more supported in some countries compared to others. Most have decided to close their borders to flights from the UK in order to limit the importation of the virus.
In Sweden, those affected are currently in isolation. In Japan, flights are suspended, but resident aliens can re-enter as long as they show a negative result on a test taken within the last 72 hours. In South Korea, the government wants to speed up the availability of vaccine. In short, countries apply the decisions they consider best.
Fortunately, the vaccines created should also act effectively on the B.1.1.7 variant. In addition, two variants – other than the one initially detected in the United Kingdom – have appeared, one in South Africa and another in Nigeria. However, it is not unusual for viruses to undergo mutations, which do not necessarily make them more dangerous .