Will the world paralyze itself again? Countries are waiting and others returned to confinements after a surge of a new strain of coronavirus and outbreaks of the disease in several countries.
Governments in Europe and the Americas banned travel from the United Kingdom in an effort to prevent the spread of a new, highly infectious strain of COVID-19. According to the British government, the new version of the virus appears to be spreading 70% faster than previous ones, and this might have been responsible for the increase in cases in and around London.
So far, the new variant has been detected in the United Kingdom and Denmark, and there is talk of a first case in Italy. And although in the United States there is still no confirmed case having the new strain, renowned doctor Anthony Fauci considers it very likely that the “new” version of the disease has already arrived in the country.
For now there is no evidence that the new variant causes more serious infections or neutralizes the vaccines, but there is concern that the control of the spread of the virus is less manageable with this strain.
United Kingdom isolates itself against “new” coronavirus
The British government imposed a new lockdown in the affected regions, including the closure of all non-essential retail stores, abandoning plans to allow a five-day truce of COVID-19 restrictions across the country during Christmas, under which three households could meet.
Faced with this situation, Canada stopped flights from the United Kingdom. In South America, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Peru took the same measure while Ecuador is considering it.
France, for its part, announced that it will suspend all travel to and from the United Kingdom for 48 hours. Ireland banned flights from Britain on Mondays and Tuesdays; and Portugal will allow only Portuguese citizens to arrive on flights from that country.
Belgium will block travelers from the United Kingdom for 24 hours as a “precautionary measure” and Spain has already announced that it will suspend all flights from that nation.
The Netherlands and Latvia announced longer bans on flights from the UK until the new year; the Czech Republic imposed a mandatory 10-day quarantine on anyone arriving from that country; and Saudi Arabia suspended all international flights for travelers for a week, as well as entry through land and sea ports.
COVID re-emergence and fear of lockdowns
According to El Mundo, the failure to control the second wave since September and the closure of stores in Germany led the government of The Netherlands to reimpose lockdowns. It will allow only three guests for dinner on New Year’s Eve.
The total confinement is the first that The Netherlands have declared since March, and will last at least five weeks. Non-essential activities will have to cease until January 19th, once the holidays are over and the vaccination campaign has begun, which is expected to start the week of January 4th.
In Italy, a total confinement was decreed that will last from December 24th to January 6th, with flexibility in work days.
In Austria, a new lockdown was also implemented. One of the strictest applied in Europe. The government ordered the closure of schools and non-essential businesses.
The measures imposed are complemented by limitations on meetings. Italy will only allow visits by two additional people, Germany by a maximum of five and Spain by six, but from two different households. In some cities, the closure of restaurants and bars during the holidays has been decreed, in addition to curfews.
Countries such as South Korea and Japan, with an uptick in new cases, are also evaluating imposing new restrictions.
A report by the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) says that “lockdowns do not control the coronavirus. The organization says in the report that ” There is no relationship between lockdowns (or whatever else people want to call them to mask their true nature) and virus control.”
The virus is going to do as viruses do, same as always in the history of infectious disease. We have extremely limited control over them, and that which we do have is bound up with time and place. Fear, panic, and coercion are not ideal strategies for managing viruses. Intelligence and medical therapeutics fare much better.AEIR report