British corona mutation detected in 50 countries, WHO says

The corona mutation, first discovered in the United Kingdom, has now been detected in 50 countries. As the World Health Organization (WHO) further announced on Wednesday, in addition, another variant initially detected in South Africa has now spread to 20 countries. Both mutations have also already been detected in Austria.

Recently, another virus variant has also been detected in Japan, which is causing concern, the WHO statement said. The further the virus spreads, the more opportunities there are for mutations. Therefore, the emergence of more mutations should be expected, it said. The WHO pointed out that the spread of the mutations is probably underestimated because the appropriate investigation capacities do not exist everywhere.

The mutation from Great Britain was first reported there on December 14. The WHO explained that the mutation was not conspicuous in terms of its distribution according to age groups and gender. However, a “higher transmissibility” of the virus had been detected. The South African variant was first reported Dec. 18. It was also “possible” for this variant to be transmissible at an increased level, WHO said.

Regarding the new variant detected in Japan on Jan. 9, WHO said it was detected in four travelers from Brazil – two adults and two children. Brazilian researchers had also reported a similar mutation, but it is believed to have developed independently of the variant detected in Japan.

Meanwhile, the coronavirus mutation has also been detected in Hungary. It was found in samples from three patients, the country’s top public health official, Cecilia Müller, announced. France’s health authorities warned of the danger of the mutated form, which is on the rise in many states (B.1.1.7.). “I am very concerned,” the head of the scientific council, Jean-Francois Delfraissy, told Franceinfo radio. It is already too late to stop the spread in France, he said. The challenge is to try to slow it down through a series of measures, Delfraissy said. It’s a race, he said. Eleven cases of the mutation have been confirmed so far in the Paris area, the head of the local health authority, Aurelien Rousseau, told BFM TV.

Meanwhile, to ease pressure on London hospitals, the British government is considering moving patients to hotels. Health Minister Matt Hancock confirmed this in an interview with Sky News on Wednesday. “There is enormous pressure on the NHS (health service) and we are considering all sorts of things to take that pressure off,” Hancock said. However, he stressed that would only be considered where it was medically justifiable.

A spokesman for King’s College Hospital in London said the hospital has arranged partnerships with nearby hotels to transfer primarily homeless patients who are able to leave the hospital. The U.K. has been particularly hard hit by the Corona pandemic. In parts of the country, hospitals are on the verge of collapse. The new virus mutation is also being blamed for this. The seven-day incidence, i.e. the number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants over one week, is just under 600 nationwide.

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