A new variant of the coronavirus emerges in the UK as London moves to Tier 3 restrictions

By Hanie Abdul Razak

A new variant of the corona virus is said to be the cause of a very sharp increase in infections, the British government announced in Parliament on Monday. As a result, London and three parts of the surrounding counties will be subject to Tier 3 restrictions starting Wednesday.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said over 1,000 cases of the new variant have been identified, mostly in the south of England. He also called for this new variant to be implemented quickly and decisively, as the multiplication of cases had reached worrying proportions.

The Minister of Health also allied the concerns by saying it was unlikely that the new variant would affect the vaccine’s effectiveness.

Tier 3 restrictions would include the closure of eateries such as pubs, restaurants and in the entertainment sector such as theaters, etc. People from different households are also not allowed to talk indoors. However, up to six people can gather outside. Shops and schools can also remain open.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan described the move as incredibly disappointing for business but admitted the need to return to a state where the lockdown was nearing completion.

Sky News science correspondent Thomas Moore also said that the virus mutation is extremely common and that a virus that adapts to the human body actually has milder symptoms, as in the case of the common cold.

What is concerned about a possible mutation in the coronavirus is a mutation in the spike protein, a protein that covers the novel coronavirus. The Pfizer vaccine produces this spike protein in the body and the immune system responds to it as a foreign material.

Catherine Bennett, Chair of Epidemiology in the Department of Health at Deakin University in Melbourne, told Sky News, “If the virus, especially the spike proteins, changes significantly, it can escape a vaccine. We want to slow down the transmission globally in order to slow down the clock. ”

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