Countries Ban Travel From U.K. in Race to Block New Covid-19 Strain – Countries across Europe and beyond barred travelers from Britain on Sunday in an effort to keep out a highly infectious new strain of the coronavirus that is spreading rapidly in England.
The British government said on Saturday the new strain appeared to be spreading 70% faster than earlier variants and is responsible for a surge in cases in London and its surrounding areas. Recorded cases across the U.K. in the week to Sunday rose 51% over the week before.
The emergence of the variant presents a serious setback for suppressing the pandemic before new vaccines can be rolled out across the country, suggesting major restrictions will continue into the new year. There is no evidence yet that the new variant causes more serious infections or will neutralize the vaccines, British scientists say, but there are concerns it will make controlling the virus’s spread less manageable, even with a vaccine.
Viruses mutate constantly and scientists are constantly on the alert for new mutations that may affect how the virus behaves. The new strain hasn’t been identified in the U.S.