The worst strain of coronavirus reaches Europe; 500 times more contagious? WHO reacts

The latest strain of coronavirus, which forced WHO experts to hold an emergency meeting, reached Europe. Allegedly, 500 times more contagious than delta strain.

Source: B92
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EPA-EFE/OLIVIER HOSLET
EPA-EFE/OLIVIER HOSLET

It was detected in South Africa and is labelled as B.1.1.529.

EU countries that are still struggling with the delta strain and which have introduced the strictest epidemiological conditions for constantly breaking records in the number of newly infected and deceased, reacted immediately and began to introduce flight bans from the country of origin and the latest variant of COVID-19.

The United States announced that the situation is still being considered and that no concrete measures have been taken because of that. On the other hand, part of the passengers from South Africa have already been trapped in airplanes at European airports. A decision on what will happen to them is pending.

However, the World Health Organization warned countries today not to react hastily by introducing travel restrictions due to the new strain, telling them to take a "scientific approach based on risk assessment".

A closed-door meeting of experts from Geneva, convened by the WHO, began today to assess the new strain of coronavirus B.1.1.529 and to discuss whether it should be defined as a "strain of interest" or a "strain which is a cause for concern", WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier explained.

He added that it will take several weeks to determine the possibility of transmitting the new strain and how effective the vaccines and therapy are against the new strain. He also pointed out that 100 sequences of the new strain have been reported so far, Reuters reports.

The director of the Center for Epidemic Response and Innovation in the Republic of South Africa, Tulio de Oliveira, previously conveyed to the WHO representatives his concern regarding COVID variant B.1.1.529, which is feared to be the worst variant of COVID identified so far. After that, the WHO decided to hold an extraordinary session, De Oliveira told Financial Times.

According to the latest data, a total of 77 people have been diagnosed with this variant of coronavirus in South Africa. It was also diagnosed with four people in Botswana and one in Hong Kong (a person who came from South Africa).

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