The year 2020 was under the pressure of the global pandemic causing loss of lives and a strain on the global economy. With the process of vaccination now being carried out across the countries, the discovery of new COVID-19 strain in the UK has led to another fear and panic across the globe.
Many countries have taken strict measures to stop the spread of the new strain of coronavirus with restriction to travel. The new variant, which scientists have named “VUI – 202012/01” includes a genetic mutation in the “spike” protein that the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus uses to infect human cells.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had also said that the new strain "may be up to 70 percent more transmissible than the original version of the disease".
Health experts in the UK and US have said that the UK strain seems to infect more easily than others, but there is no evidence yet that it is more deadly. The strain is also concerning because it has so many mutations — nearly two dozen — and some are on the spiky protein that the virus uses to attach to and infect cells. That spike is what current vaccines target.
However, Chiefs of BioNTech and AstraZeneca have also said that it is likely that their company's vaccine will be effective against the new virus.
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Here is a list of all the countries where the new coronavirus strain has already been identified so far:
India: India has reported six cases of the new coronavirus strain. As per a government statement, a total of 6 UK returnees have been found to be positive with the new UK variant genome. Three samples in NIMHANS of Bengaluru, 2 in CCMB, Hyderabad and 1 in NIV, Pune tested positive for the new variant of coronavirus.
Israel: Israel detected four cases of the new, highly infectious variant of the coronavirus that has emerged in Britain, the Israeli health ministry had said said on December 23. Three of the cases were returnees were from England and isolating at a hotel designated as a coronavirus quarantine facility, the health ministry had said. The fourth case is under investigation, it added.
Spain: Spain has registered its first cases of a coronavirus variant believed to be particularly infectious that emerged in Britain, Madrid's regional government said on December 26. The region said four cases had been detected involving people who had recently arrived from the UK or had close contact with someone who had.
Japan: Japan's health ministry has confirmed the nation's first cases of infection with the new variant of the coronavirus that was identified in the UK. The five people arrived between December 18 and December 21, before Japan stepped up border control on December 25 for entrants from Britain. A man in his 60s developed fatigue, but the other four were without symptoms.
France: The French health ministry said a Frenchman who recently arrived back in France from London had tested positive for the new variant of the coronavirus. The ministry said the case - the first in France - had been found in the city of Tours. The man in question arrived from London on December 19. He was currently self-isolating and felt alright, the ministry added.
Norway: The new variant of the coronavirus circulating in Britain has been detected in two people who came to Norway from the country, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health said on December 27.
Sweden: The new variant of coronavirus linked to a rapid rise in infections in Britain has been detected in Sweden after a traveller from the United Kingdom became ill and tested positive, the Swedish Health Agency said on December 26.
Belgium: Belgium recorded four cases of the mutant coronavirus variant sweeping Britain at the start of December, health officials said on December 22.
Canada: The first two cases of a particularly infectious coronavirus variant that recently emerged in Britain have been confirmed in Canada, health authorities said on December 27. "The cases are a couple from Durham with no known travel history, exposure or high-risk contacts," Barbara Yaffe, acting chief medical officer for Ontario, said in a statement.
Australia: Australia confirmed on Monday it has detected two cases of a fast-spreading new coronavirus strain that has forced Britain to reverse plans to ease curbs over Christmas, the first confirmed cases of the strain in the Asia-Pacific region
Lebanon: The Lebanese health authorities have recorded the first case of a new COVID-19 strain in an individual who arrived from the United Kingdom, Minister of Public Health Hamad Hassan said on December 25. "The first case of a new coronavirus type was registered in a passenger of Flight ME [Middle East Airlines] 202, who arrived from London on December 21," Hassan wrote on Twitter.
Germany: Germany on December 24 recorded its first case of the mutant coronavirus variant after a woman who flew in from London tested positive for the strain. The woman had arrived in Frankfurt airport on December 20 from London Heathrow.
Denmark: Nine cases have been detected in Denmark
Singapore: Singapore has confirmed its first case of the new coronavirus variant found in the United Kingdom, the city-state said, while 11 others who were already in quarantine had returned preliminarily positive results for the new strain. All the cases, which were imported from Europe, had been placed in 14-day quarantine at dedicated facilities or isolated upon arrival, and their close contacts had been quarantined earlier.
Switzerland: In Switzerland, three people have tested positive for the new strain, the Federal Office of Public Health said on Saturday. Two of those infected lived in the UK but were visiting Switzerland. "All close contacts have been quarantined," a FOPH spokesperson told Swiss Info.
Netherland: On December 22, Dutch Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said the new variant was found in two persons in Amsterdam.
South Korea: Three cases of a particularly infectious coronavirus variant that recently emerged in Britain have been confirmed in South Korea, health authorities said on December 28.
Pakistan: Samples of three UK returnees show a 95 percent match to the new Corona Virus variant from UK in the first phase of Genotyping, the department of Sindh health department tweeted on December 29.(With inputs from agencies)