As Christmas approaches, the spread of the novel coronavirus in parts of the UK has accelerated, and the epidemic is worrying.
The UK government is investigating whether the situation is related to a mutant novel coronavirus and has raised the level of COVID-19 prevention and control in the capital London, southeast and eastern England from level 3 to the newly added level 4.
The British government announced the emergence of mutant novel coronavirus on the 14th of this month. Health Secretary Matthew Hancock said on the same day that a mutant of COVID-19 may be related to the accelerated spread of the virus in southeastern England; in the past few months, similar mutant viruses have been found in other countries, and the United Kingdom has informed the World Health Organization of the situation.
According to the Public Health Service of England, the mutant virus is named VUI-202012/01. At present, a large number of cases of this mutant virus infection can be observed in some areas of the UK with severe epidemic.
Susan Hopkins, a medical consultant at the Public Health Service of England, was quoted on the website of Sky News on the 20th to report that the mutant virus was mainly found in London and southeastern England, and a small number of findings were also found in other parts of England, as well as in Wales and Scotland.
It was first discovered in a patient in September, and experts then carried out whole genome sequencing and analysis of the virus.
Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, said in a statement on the 19th that experts believe that the mutant virus “can spread faster” based on research on the transmission characteristics of the mutant virus and preliminary model analysis of relevant data.
At present, experts are continuously analyzing the obtained data to deepen the understanding of mutant viruses.
Whitty said that there is no evidence that the mutant virus may bring higher mortality or affect the efficacy of vaccines and therapeutic drugs, and experts are intensifying research to further confirm this information.
In response to the new situation of the epidemic, the British government decided on the 19th to raise the prevention and control level of London and other parts to the newly added level of fourth level from the 20th, similar to the large-scale “foot ban” measures introduced in England in November this year.
According to the guidelines previously released by the British government, in the three-level alert system of the novel coronavirus epidemic, the first to three levels correspond to the three levels of epidemic alert levels of “medium”, “high” and “very high” and the corresponding prevention and control measures. Due to the unoptimistic epidemic, the British government decided to add a fourth level.
However, some British experts say that the emergence of mutant viruses is within the expected range. The coronavirus will continue to mutate, and this time the coronavirus mutates, said University of Liverpool professor Julian Hiskox.
The most important thing now is to investigate whether the mutant virus has new characteristics that affect human health, related diagnosis and vaccine efficacy, and “the current prevention and control measures are appropriate”.
According to the data released by the British government on the 20th, 35,928 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the past 24 hours, with a total of 2040,147 confirmed cases.