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London: a mutation of the Covid-19 at the origin of the new restrictions?

 London: a mutation of the Covid-19 at the origin of the new restrictions?

London and parts of south-east England go back to maximum alert from Wednesday. Health authorities are worried about a possible mutation of the Covid-19.

London and parts of the south-east of England pass Wednesday, December 16 to the third level of alert. - AFP

Another turn of the screw in England, where London and several areas in the south, in Essex and Hertfordshire, have taken new restrictions from Wednesday 16 December, thus returning to the maximum alert level. Thus, many establishments will have to close their doors as from this date: hotels, pubs and restaurants are concerned, but also all cultural places, cinemas, theaters or museums. The use of telework has been more than advised by the government, which has called for limiting non-essential travel, but schools can remain open. Meetings between people from different homes, "out of their bubble" in the words of British Minister of Health Matt Hancock, are also prohibited, except outside. 

A mutation of the virus taken seriously by the authorities

If the government has been forced to retake more stringent measures in the South, it is because of the galloping rise in contamination, which could be linked to a mutation of the virus. Identified last week and since reported to the World Health Organization (WHO), this new strain has already infected more than a thousand people, "mainly in the south of England" , confirmed Matt Hancock at a conference release Monday, December 14. If many mutations have been observed in recent months, this one has been taken more seriously by the British health authorities because it concentrates 'more mutations than most of the other variants' , 'according to the chief medical officer Chris Whitty'.

The whole question is whether this new strain is the cause of this upsurge in contamination, which the health authorities do not know for now. Even if information is lacking on this discovery, the latter are meant to be reassuring to the population by specifying that it has not yet resulted in any serious form of the disease. 'Nothing suggests that the symptoms are different, that the tests are different or that the clinical result is different for this variant', said Chris Witthy, while the Minister of Health, "not stressed at this stage", explained that it was "very unlikely" that this variant of the virus "does not respond to vaccines". Indeed, the country began its vaccination campaign last week , surprising all of Europe by its speed.

Across the UK, the number of new cases detected has skyrocketed in recent days to around 20,000 per day. In one week, the country counted 14% of positive cases and 13% of additional hospitalizations. After a peak in mortality in mid-November, the number of daily deaths fell before rising sharply in early December. With 232 additional deaths in the past 24 hours, 64,402 people have died from Covid-19 in the United Kingdom since the start of the epidemic.

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