Around the world in 7 days: UK's new Covid-19 strain

UK's new Covid-19 strain spreads globally despite flight bans, border closures

The new variant of the coronavirus, first detected in the UK, has spiked far beyond the island nation

Representative Image. Credit: iStock

After a new, more infectious strain of the coronavirus emerged in the United Kingdom in early December, countries across the world shut their borders to flights to and from the UK in a bid to prevent the spread of the virus, but to no avail.

Despite their efforts, the new variant of the virus — titled VUI-202012/01 — found its way into a handful of European nations, Canada, Australia, Japan, and Lebanon.

In Europe, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, and Denmark have detected positive cases for the new strain. France, which closed its borders to the UK early and paid a heavy price in trade disruption, still recorded a positive case for the new strain.

Read | France sees first case of UK coronavirus variant

In Canada, a couple, albeit with no travel history to the British isles, tested positive for the virus, leading The Washington Post to suggest that the virus has reached the community spread level. The strain is yet to be detected in the United States, although that may be due to a lack of sufficient sequencing carried out in the country, experts suggested.

Also Read | Canada detects two cases of UK coronavirus variant 

The United States, however, has issued a directive that requires all passengers arriving from the UK to get a negative test result within 72 hours of the flight's departure.

On Saturday, Japan issued a ban on all foreign tourists or any non-residents entering the country starting Monday, after it saw a spike in Covid-19 cases.

In India,  while a staggering number of returnees have tested positive for Covid-19, it is yet to be ascertained whether they have the UK strain.

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