TTransportation Secretary Grant Shapps said today that there are fears the new variant of the coronavirus will “defeat the vaccine” and that means the travel redlist is back.
Mr Shapps said there was apprehension that the new variant would spread “very quickly” and ministers moved quickly to add six countries to government trips red list.
British health authorities sounded the alarm on Thursday evening over variant B.1.1.529, which has the potential to evade immunity built up by vaccination or a previous infection.
This led to South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini, and Zimbabwe all being added to the Red List, meaning that the quarantine of hotels for those traveling from those countries to the UK- Uni will be needed again.
Jenny Harries, Managing Director of the UK’s Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said: “This is the most significant variant we have encountered so far and urgent research is underway to find out more about it. transmissibility, its severity and its sensitivity to the vaccine. “
The variant, which descends from the B.1.1 lineage, has an “incredibly high” number of mutations, experts say, fearing that it is highly transmissible and effective in evading the body’s immune response.
The World Health Organization relies on the Greek alphabet to name new variants of concern, which means that B.1.1529 could possibly be called Nu, as it is the next available letter.
B.1.1529 has 32 mutations located in its spike protein. These include E484A, K417N, and N440K, which are combined to help the virus escape detection of antibodies.
Another mutation, N501Y, which is found in the spike protein, appears to increase the ability of the virus to enter our cells, making it more transmissible.
But what does this mean for infection rates around the world and what will likely happen to travel restrictions over the next few weeks?
Tim White, the Covid data analyst who tweets like @TWMCLtd, searched the genomic sequencing records held by Gisaid, the global database, with a focus on variants of concern.
He’ll be on-hand to answer all of your latest travel questions around the latest announcement and what could happen to the traffic light system in the coming weeks at a live “ask me anywhere” event. what ”to be held on this page today (November 26).
Join Tim at 5 p.m. today, November 26, when he is on-site to answer your travel questions live on all the latest rules and restrictions.
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Don’t worry if you can’t see your question – they’ll be hidden until Tim joins the conversation to answer them.
So join us live on this page from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. as he takes on as many as he can in an hour.