Over 40 countries have closed their borders to the United Kingdom.
MEXICO CITY (Times Media Mexico) – More than 40 countries have restricted flights from and to the United Kingdom due to fears of a new strain of the highly transmissible coronavirus. Still, Mexico has not taken any preventive measures. López Obrador said that his government would not “act politically” in this case without first having and reviewing the technical elements.
“We do not act politically without having technical elements from those who know, from the experts; because if it depends on the politicians, then it is: ‘let’s see, there is this variant of Covid in England, it has already been published in the media, these countries are already closing their airports, they do not want to receive flights from the United Kingdom, we are going to do the same.’ No, it is not like that,” he said in his morning conference.
At least four airlines are currently mobilizing passengers with direct flights or stopovers between Mexico and the United Kingdom.
The coronavirus is mutating.
Officials from the United Kingdom and South Africa say that the new variants are more easily transmitted. But that’s not all, scientists say.
Just as vaccines are beginning to give hope for a way out of the pandemic, British officials warned of a new, highly contagious variant of the coronavirus circulating in England.
Based on the rapid spread of the virus in and around London, Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed the country’s strictest containment since March.
In South Africa, a similar version of the virus emerged, which, according to the scientists who detected it, shares one of the mutations observed in the British variant. That virus has been found in up to 90 percent of the samples whose genetic sequences were analyzed in South Africa since mid-November.
Scientists are concerned about these variants but are not surprised. Researchers have recorded thousands of small changes in the coronavirus’s genetic material as it has spread around the world.
As it becomes more difficult for the pathogen to survive due to vaccines and the growing immunity of human populations, researchers also anticipate that the virus will obtain useful mutations that will allow it to spread more easily or escape detection by the immune system.
The British variant has about twenty mutations, including several that affect how the virus attaches to and infects human cells. These mutations may allow the variant to replicate and transmit more efficiently, said Muge Cevik, an expert in infectious diseases at the University of St. Andrew in Scotland and scientific advisor to the British government.
However, the estimate of increased transmissibility (British officials said the variant was up to 70 percent more transmissible) is based on modeling and has not been confirmed in laboratory experiments, Cevik added.
“The good news is that scientists routinely monitor mutations in influenza viruses to update vaccines and will do the same with the coronavirus… The technology used in the Pfizer-BioNTech and Modern vaccines is much easier to adjust and update than conventional vaccines. The new vaccines also generate a massive immune response, so the coronavirus may need many mutations for years before the vaccines need to be updated or adjusted”. Said Trevor Bedford, an evolutionary biologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.