New Strains Variant OfCOVID 19: Back To Square One
Barely Stephen Ubanna
Barely one year after the Asian country of China emerged Coronavirus , popular, COVID 19, spread like wild fire and claimed millions of lives in over 200 countries I the world, a new variant of the sickness , named VUI-202012/01, also known as lineage B1.1.7, described as worse and 70% more transmissible than the earlier variants has emerged in the United Kingdom, UK.
The new strain coronavirus, according to informed sources was first identified in UK, on September 20, 2020, but the Boris Johnson led British government was said to have announced the existence of the variant to the world on December 14, 2020 after being confirmed by the Public Health of England and the UK’S COVID 19 sequencing consortium AAuthorities.
Given the emergence of the new strain variant of the coronavirus, Emmanuel Macron, home country, France, was said to have shut its borders with UK, for two days. The two days border closure with the neighbouring UK, had made it very difficult for lorries and ferries to leave from the port of Dover . The policy measure was said to have blocked the flow of trade between the two countries for the two days, forcing , the British Prime Minister, to reach out to his Counterpart in France t to resolve the issue .
The British government on its part had made efforts to contain the transmission of the disease that the health Authorities say could spread faster than COVID 19 and other variants of the Pandemic. The action may not have stopped the over 40 countries in Europe, South America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, from restricting international flights l from the Johnson home country, UK, and other countries that were alleged to have confirmed cases of the new coronavirus variant. The variant, according to a report by the World Health Organisation, WHO, has also been detected in Denmark, Netherlands, Australia thus making the COVID 19 situation worrisome.
Some of the countries that were said to have restricted travels from UK, include Argentina, Belgium, Bulgarian, Canada, Chile, Colombia and Czech Republic. Others are Denmark, El- Salvador, Estonia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Iran, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithunia and Luxembourg, Morocco, Netherlands, Oman and Pakistan.This is in addition Peru, Republic of Ireland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey, Ecuador, Greece, and Portugal among others.
This may have informed why there is a call on the President Muhammadu led All Progressive Congress government to join other countries in the world that have restricted flights from UK, over the COVID 19 new strain variant to do so. Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice President and Presidential Candidate of the Opposition People’s Democratic Party ,PDP, in the 2019, general elections, particular, had said that it is the only way to prevent the spread of the disease into the country.
Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the government of the Federation an Chairman of the Presidential Task Force , PTF, on COVID, may have spoken the mind of the Katsina state born Nigerian President when he said that the government will take decision on the restriction of international flights from UK, based on the report of the aviation and health Authorities including the WHO, which are’’ assessing the situation closely’’.
Mustapha, the TTF, COVID 19, Chairman, was said to have told those that cares to listen that the government would ‘’take a position on the matter as soon as cogent specific basis was established’’. As a prelude to ensuring that the new strain Variant COVID 19, would not spread into Nigeria, the government had already shut down night clubs and recreational centers, across the country. The PTF COVID 19, Chairman, was said to have also directed that ‘’all restaurants operating in different parts of the country should be closed down. The PTF, on COVID 19, boss, may have exempted the restaurants providing services to hotel residents, takeaways, home deliveries and drive-ins to avoid making things difficult for travellers.
The Mustapha led PTF, on COVID 19, was said to have also restricted ‘’all informal festivity events, including weddings, conferences, congresses, office parties and end of year parties, to not more than 50 people’’ to forestall the spread of the deadly disease.
Acting on the instructions of the Nigerian President, he was said to have equally limited all gatherings linked to religious events to less than 50 percent of the capacity of the facility of use, insisting that’’ physical distancing and use of Face marks should be strictly enforced’’. As part of the anti-new strain COVID 19 measures, the PTF COVID 19, Authorities, said ‘’events where more than 50 people are attending should be held outdoors only .
The Mustapha led PTF on COVID 19, may not have spared the Commercial transporters. The COVID 19, PTF Chairman was said to have made it clear that they mus t not carry Passengers more 50% of the capacity of the bus, in compliance with the PTF ,social distancing rules. This is bad news for the bus drivers and their conductors who would not keep to the rules. With the new order, Passengers may have been given the ammunition by the NMustapha led PTF on COVID, 19, to protest any infringement by any bus driver to break the social distance rules.
The worry of many was that this new strain variant of coronavirus that has emerged in UK has come, at a time when countries in the world including Nigeria, await for an effective COVID 19 vaccine or the treatment. The vaccine manufactured by Moderna, Pharmaceutical Company, are currently being administered to patients in the North American country of the United States, US.
The discovery of the new strain variant of the China emerged coronavirus has posed a lot of questions whether it will have any impact on the vaccines that had been produced for the treatment of the Pandemic or stop the coronavirus new strain? The British Prime minister had said that the new COVID 19 variant was going to have a big impact on the Pandemic severity in the country. He is right.
The Value learnt that the first time the COVID variant was discovered in UK, hospitalization was over 115,000 patients. Informed sources told The Magazine that as at Monday, December 21, 2020, the confirmed carries of the number of infected persons have reached 18 million as against 17 million that were infected on Wednesday, December 16, 2020.
The UK emerged new strain COVID 19 variant appears to have tasked Johnson who is working round the clock with the country health officials to forestall further spread of the disease. Note that about six million doses of the newly authorized moderna vaccine was said to have been shipped to 3, 700 locations around the country, this week alone.
These have added up to the nearlier three million doses of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine that were dispatched to several health centers in the country recently. The UK Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , reported that 614,117 doses had been administered on the Patients as at Monday, December 21, 2020.
Prior to the emergence of the new strain COVID 19 variant in UK, last September, which was said to have been made public on December 14, 2020, The Nigerian government, according to Osagie Ehanire , the minister of health had signed up with the WHO, and Gavi for access for the procurement of the COVID 19 vaccine immediately they are available.
The vaccines, the minister had said are in packets, which may have informed why the Pharmaceutical manufacturing companies are not giving any immunity to buyers. Although, there is no evidence suggesting that the COVID 19 vaccines will be any less effective against the new variant coronavirus, but experts believe that’’ there is every reason to believe that the COVID 19 vaccines will still work against this new strain , although, it has to be thoroughly tested.
The minister is optimistic that the pressure on the WHO and Gavi will be able get reserves for other countries that are not manufacturing the vaccines like Nigeria. The Nigerian government was said to have earlier signed up for advanced market participation with Covax to facilitate the country getting its own share by January 2021. Covax, was founded by the WHO, European Union, EU, and France in 2020, to celebrate the development , production and equitable access to COVID 19 treatments and vaccines. Investigations shows that there are two types of the COVID 19 vaccines: those that have to be in ultra deep freezers and the MRA types of vaccines, which has to be in freezers that must give the owner 80% type of degree.
Ehanire, the minister of health, had said that the government is also working on the cost of procuring the COVID 19 vaccines to be able to get enough that would take care of the population. This may have informed why he said that ‘’ the country have to get the vaccines that would work well with good cost storage and cost of delivery as soon as they are available’’.
The worry being expressed in medical circles is that while the COVID vaccines have been manufacture, there is no cure for the virus. The US, Food and Drug Ad Administration, FDA had approved the anti-Viral medication, remdesvir (Veklury) for the treatment of infected COVID 19 , patients, alleged to have helped their recovery rate but that was how far it could go.