January 25, 2021

France and Canada impose travel bans on new COVID-19 variant fears

After the UK announced a new COVID-19 strain, France has now joined a number of countries that have suspended traffic from the UK. This new corona virus strain is likely to spread very easily and quickly, and is difficult to detect. Taking to Twitter, French Prime Minister Jean Costex said, “All travel from the United Kingdom to France will be suspended for 48 hours from midnight onwards due to new health risks and their assessment is pending.”

According to Jean Costex, France will use the 2-day suspension to clarify the UK’s health situation and to coordinate a common response strategy with EU member states. This comes after UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Sunday that the new COVID-19 strain was “out of control”.

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Canada implements new border controls

Taking to Twitter, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he had convened a meeting with the incident response team on Monday. “We are focused on the new variant of COVID-19 identified in the UK and have decided to implement new border controls to keep you and the people safe across the country,” Trudeau added.

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Under the new border restrictions, all flights from the UK will be barred from entering Canada for the next 72 hours, starting at midnight on Monday. The Prime Minister of Canada also said that travelers arriving in the country on Monday will be subjected to secondary screening and enhanced operations. “And many more about the steps we take to protect you,” he added.

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What is the corona virus strain detected in the UK?

According to the World Health Organization, the so-called “VUI – 202012/01” variant was first identified in the UK in mid-September. Since then, its mutations have occurred in the genetic material that controls spike protein, which causes COVID-19 and other similar viruses to infiltrate host cells and cause infection.

According to Patrick Valens, the UK’s chief scientific adviser, there are 23 mutations in the genetic makeup of the virus, with an unusually large number allowing it to spread quickly. British authorities now estimate that “VUI – 202012/01” is more than 70 percent contagious, which is based on modeling but has not yet been confirmed in laboratory tests. Although there is no evidence to date that strain causes a more serious illness or leads to a higher mortality rate, air transmission indicates a higher incidence, leading to a higher hospitalization rate.

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