New strain of coronavirus: the UK increasingly isolated

► Are exchanges between France and the United Kingdom suspended?

The announcement of the discovery, Saturday, December 19, of a variant of the coronavirus in the United Kingdom, which would be up to 70% more contagious, resulted in the closure of borders with several countries, including France, which decided as soon as Sunday to suspend for 48 hours all trips from British soil, “Including related to the transport of goods, by road, air, sea or rail”. Only unaccompanied freight remains authorized.

President Emmanuel Macron justified this measure in the name of a principle of “Vigilance” at the opening of the Council of Ministers, Monday, December 21. This “Problematic mutation of the virus, with a much more aggressive form” watch “The complexity of this virus, its aggressiveness, dare I say its inventiveness, and the humility that we must always have”, commented the Head of State.

Government spokesman Gabriel Attal said the authorities were examining the possibilities for the French stranded on the British island of returning to France for the holidays, already inviting them to be tested.

► What other countries have suspended their trade?

While the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Diseases Agency on Sunday called on their members in Europe to strengthen their controls to combat the spread of the new variant, the diplomats of the 27 are trying, this Monday, to define a common response concerning maritime, rail and road links with the United Kingdom.

The avenues mentioned consist of strengthening health controls, and possibly the imposition of PCR tests, for passengers coming from the United Kingdom.

→ READ. Covid-19: London and the south-east of England reconfigure

Meanwhile, Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Italy, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania, have suspended flights and routes with the country, for periods ranging from 24 hours to two weeks. Poland will suspend flights from the UK from Monday. Greece has imposed a seven-day quarantine on passengers arriving from the UK.

Outside the European Union, Canada, Russia, Argentina, Morocco, India, Colombia and Chile, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Iran, Macedonia, Oman, but also Switzerland, Turkey, El Salvador and Israel have also suspended flights. These last four countries have also suspended their links with South Africa where a new variant has also been detected.

Saudi Arabia and the Sultanate of Oman have suspended all international flights as well as access to their ports for at least a week.

► Where were cases of the new variant detected?

Italy announced Sunday evening that it had detected a first case in Rome. Nine infections had already been reported in Denmark, as well as a case in the Netherlands and Australia, said the WHO. The Minister of Health Olivier Véran ruled on Monday morning “Possible that (this variant of the virus) circulates in France” despite the measures taken since Sunday.

► What supply for the United Kingdom?

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson chaired a crisis meeting on Monday “To discuss the situation regarding international travel and in particular the regular flow of freight to and from the UK”.

With the closure of the country’s borders, which comes less than two weeks before the scheduled exit from the common market, concerns are raised about the country’s supply during the holidays.

► What are the health consequences of the discovery of this new strain?

This variant could “Affect the effectiveness of certain diagnostic methods”, WHO said. There is however for the moment “No evidence of a change in the severity of the disease”, according to her. The new variant “Has no impact on vaccines” remaining “Just as effective”said German Health Minister Jens Spahn, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency.


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