The novel pandemic is about to welcome its third wave as the deadlier B.1.1.7 or ‘UK variant’ of Covid-19 continues to spike each passing day. The virus was first reported in United Kingdom, and has now taken over major parts of the globe, enveloping nearly 92 countries including Pakistan in its tediousness.
COVID-19 vaccination program is currently underway in different parts of Pakistan, with frontline health workers and elderlies receiving the shots initially. This has suppressed the Covid-19 concerns among the citizens, and the protocols are being highly disregarded.
However, the lethal illness is not ready to disappear just yet and has bounced back stronger and deadlier as ‘UK variant.’ Also, the new strain is immune to the vaccinations. And, it is therefore the reason, the SOPs and safety protocols are now required more than ever.
UK Variant of COVID-19
The new UK variant, also called the B.1.1.7 variant, was first identified in September last year when it accounted for just one in four new diagnoses of COVID-19. By mid-December, however, this had increased to almost two-thirds of new cases in London, and the southeast of England was struggling with a surge in new cases.
Since its discovery, the UK variant has also been detected in the US, Canada, Denmark, France, Belgium, Spain, Finland, Nigeria, Ghana, Jordan, Australia and Singapore. And recently, Pakistan has also welcomed this fatal new strain.
Moreover, a total of 17 mutations were identified in this variant, with the N501Y mutation being the most significant. This mutation allows the virus to form tighter bonds with human cells allowing the virus to enter cells more easily.
As the studies suggest, the new UK variant is more infectious, causes severe illness, and spreads more rapidly than the non-variant strain. Owing to its advanced transmitting abilities, the virus is affecting bulks at a time, and alarms for near worsening.
The national health services ministry has confirmed the detection of SARS COV-2 (VUI-202012/01) variant of the novel coronavirus, commonly referred to as the “UK strain”, in the country, but stressed that it was monitoring the situation through a robust surveillance system.
The confirmation from the ministry includes the country in a bracket of 92 nations, where the noxious UK strain has been detected.
“The VUI-202012/01 strain is now being seen across the world and continues to be detected in samples in Pakistan,” the ministry said.
“While this strain does not cause more severe disease, there is evidence that its transmission is faster.”
“This highlights the need to continue following prescribed SOPs and guidelines issued by the government and to get vaccinated when your turn comes.”
On account of this newly originated UK variant, ‘Smart Lockdown’ is being enforced in different regions of Pakistan. Also, the educational institutions are likely to experience an extended vacation period, which will be announced in near future.
To conclude, the lethal Corona virus still prevails and is a serious matter at hand. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the citizens to follow proper SOPs, wear masks at all costs and play their parts in controlling the spread of this disease in the country.