New Highly Transmissible COVID Variant Found In South Africa - Different To UK Strain 😞
Bad COVID News 😞
2 new Coronavirus strains have been found over this past week, one variant in Japan, and another in South Africa.
Here's what we know so far 👇
Japan's New Strain 🦠
• The strain in Japan was discovered after 4 tourists travelling from Brazil were identified with a mutated version of COVID-19 - so far, Japan's health ministry have said that the strain is different to the highly infectious variant that's currently spreading throughout the UK.
• An official from Japan's ministry has confirmed that studies are underway on the effectiveness of the covid vaccine against this new variant.
• Of the 4 travellers who arrived at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport on January 2nd, a man in his 40s had trouble breathing, a woman in her 30s had a sore throat & headache, and a teenage male had a fever, while a teenage girl showed no symptoms, the health ministry said.
• Brazil’s Health Ministry asked the Japanese gov. to provide information on the travellers’ stays for contact tracing. Brazil are currently experiencing a second wave of cases, with a daily average of more than 50,000 people testing positive for the virus in January - including an outbreak of the UK strain.
The South African Strain 😩
The South African variant, which is known as B.1.351, has worried scientists because of its unusually large number of mutations.
• One of the mutations, the 501Y mutation, makes it easier for the virus to attach to cells and enter them, potentially creating a more transmissible virus.
• While the new variants have not been shown to be more deadly, a more transmissible virus is still very risky as a faster spread could trigger more hospitalizations, which further strains health care resources.
• In response to another widely spreading 501Y.V2 variant, which is now dominate among infections in South Africa, the country has enacted strict measures banning indoor and outdoor gatherings, a curfew and a ban on alcohol sales.
Bad To Worse For Japan 😔
Not only are Japan facing the possibility of a new variant, there's also currently a surge in cases going on...
• This surge has been steadily growing over the past month, so much so that Japan have declared a state of emergency in the greater Tokyo area just last Thursday, after a record number of Covid cases were reported in the country’s capital city.
• The South African strain has also been reported in Japan, as well as 5 other countries so far: the U.K., France, Switzerland, Austria and Zambia. For reference, the variant first detected in U.K. has now been reported in more than 40 countries.
New Mutations & Variants 😒
Unfortunately, the rate of spread of these new strains does not seem to be slowing down.
On the bright side, we do have an international vaccine rollout currently underway that should help in reducing the damage caused by these viruses.
As always, we'll keep you updated 🙏