According to a report on February 9th by Sky News and Reuters local time, a scientific advisory committee of the British government said that the United Kingdom has discovered two new variant coronaviruses.
One of the variant viruses was first found in Bristol, a variant of the “B.1.1.7” variant novel coronavirus previously discovered in the United Kingdom. The variant virus has a variation called “E484K”, which occurs on the virus’s spiny protein and has similarities with the variant virus found in South Africa and Brazil.
The UK government’s scientific team has designated the variant virus as a “worrisome variant”. So far, the British government has included four variant viruses on this list, the other three are variant viruses discovered in the United Kingdom last year, and two variant viruses found in South Africa and Brazil.
Another new variant virus was found in Liverpool, and the research team has designated it as a “variant under investigation”. At present, a total of 76 people have been confirmed by the British public health department to be infected with these two newly discovered variant viruses.
Sky News tech correspondent Rowland Manthorpe worries that the “E484K” variation could make it harder for the immune system to recognize the virus, affecting the effectiveness of the vaccine.
However, British health officials said they were confident about the effectiveness of the vaccine and believed that the vaccine was “fully capable of dealing with variant viruses”.
In addition to the variant virus found in the UK, the variant novel coronavirus found in South Africa has also appeared in the UK. According to The Guardian, a total of 170 cases have been diagnosed with variant viruses found in South Africa, 18 of which have neither travel records nor contact with other people with travel records.
The Financial Times reported on the 7th that preliminary clinical trials of 2,026 volunteers showed that the coronavirus vaccines from Oxford University and AstraZeneca were suspected to be ineffective against the variant virus found in South Africa.
South Africa has announced that it will stop using the vaccine, and scientists are further studying the effect of the vaccine on variant viruses. South Africa said that if research shows that the AstraZeneca vaccine is indeed effective for more serious cases, they will reintroduce the vaccine.
In response to the deteriorating epidemic, the UK has further tightened entry and exit restrictions. According to the Guardian, British Health Secretary Hancock announced on the 9th that all people who enter England from high-risk countries must be quarantined in hotels for 10 days at their own expense.
During the quarantine, they will also need to undergo mandatory virus testing, and all those who lie about or conceal travel records will face severe penalties.
Hancock said that the move was to curb the entry of variant viruses into the UK.
He revealed that people who enter the UK but refuse to be tested will face a fine of £1,000, those who refuse to quarantine will face a fine of £5,000 to £10,000, and those who conceal travel records in high-risk areas will face up to 10 years in prison.
According to the statistics of the British health department, as of 00:00 local time on February 10, a total of 3972,148 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the UK, and 113,850 deaths occurred within 28 days after diagnosis.