The new variant of the virus, called B.1.1.7, was first detected in the UK in September but had since spread rapidly. British authorities formally identified the new variant around mid-December.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson cited one academic – Dr. Erik Voltz, a public health lecturer at Imperial College, London – saying the variant could be up to 70% more transmissible. But Volz has himself said that “it’s really too early to tell” how transmissible it is, “but from what we see so far, it is growing very quickly.”
Viruses are typically expected to mutate, and variants aren’t necessarily more harmful. Experts have also said that COVID-19 vaccines should still work against the new variant.
The mutation has triggered some countries to close their borders and tighten travel restrictions even further.
From Japan to Finland, the new coronavirus strain has been identified – Agency.
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