Many countries expect that the effects of B.1.1.7 are still ahead of us.
This is a worrying possibility in the United States, which has long had the world’s largest coronavirus outbreak and is in the middle of a post-holiday spike. On Friday, federal health experts warned in terrible words that B.1.1.7 would most likely be the dominant source of infection in the country by March.
Almost 20 European countries have found B.1.1.7 so far. In Denmark, authorities announced on Saturday that more than 250 cases had been found in samples since November. The country’s health minister has predicted that the variant will prevail by mid-February. The country’s coronavirus monitor also reported that it had identified a case of the variant found in South Africa, Reuters reported.
Many countries in Europe are redoubling their containment efforts. In France, a nationwide curfew went into effect at 6 p.m. on Saturday, and authorities have warned they could reinstate strict lockdown measures. Scotland already tightened tough restrictions, including banning outdoor drinking and banning customers from entering establishments to buy food or take-away coffee. Britain and Germany have closed schools.
In stark contrast, Spanish authorities have refused to impose a new nationwide lockdown, arguing that the recent discovery of dozens of cases of the variant was not responsible for a record increase in infections.
On Saturday, Britain reported eight cases of one of the variants found in Brazil, hours after British authorities imposed a travel ban from Latin American countries and Portugal, which is linked to Brazil through its colonial history as well as current travel and trade ties. Italy has also suspended flights from Brazil, its health minister Roberto Speranza said on Facebook.
A leading epidemiologist said a second variant discovered in Brazil is most likely already present in the UK.
“We’re one of the most connected countries in the world, so it would be unusual if we hadn’t imported some cases into the UK,” said Professor John Edmunds, a member of a group of scientists advising the government on the pandemic. said about the second variant, which was found in the Brazilian city of Manaus.