Mutant virus that appeared in the United Kingdom: a first case detected in Italy
December 21, 2020
BROADCAST – The Italian Ministry of Health said on Sunday that a patient infected with the variant of the new coronavirus which affects the United Kingdom has been identified at a hospital in Rome.
2020-12-20T21:58:14.899+01:00 – The drafting of LCI
The announcement comes hours after the one on the suspension of flights from the United Kingdom, hit by a new strain of the coronavirus suspected of being more contagious. Italy detected a first case of contamination by this variant of the Covid on Sunday, announced in a press release released in the evening the transalpine Ministry of Health. The Celio military hospital in Rome highlighted “the genome of the SARS-CoV-2 virus from a subject who has tested positive for the variant (of the Covid-19 virus, editor’s note) encountered in recent weeks in Great Britain“, can we read. The patient identified with the health establishment had recently returned from the United Kingdom by plane, and he and his relatives are in isolation, according to the same source.
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Called “VUI 202012/01” (for “Variant Under Investigation”, a variant under investigation), the new strain includes several mutations and, according to initial evaluations, would lead to up to 70% more contagiousness of the new coronavirus. Earlier this Sunday, the European Disease Control Agency (ECDC), which includes some 30 countries including EU members and the UK, had “not excluded“that the latter circulate outside British territory. The WorldHealth Organization (WHO) had for its part called on its members in Europe to”strengthen their controls“because of the new variant of the coronavirus circulating in the United Kingdom, its European branch told AFP on Sunday.
“The United Kingdom has launched an alert regarding a new form of Covid which is said to be the result of a mutation in the virus. As a government, we have a duty to protect Italians and, for this reason (…), we are going to sign, with the Minister of Health, a decree to suspend flights with Great Britain“, wrote in the morning Luigi Di Maio, Minister of Foreign Affairs, on his Facebook account.
“I signed a new ordinance that blocks flights from Great Britain and bans entry into Italy to people who have stayed there in the last 14 days“, Minister of Health Roberto Speranza said in a statement in the afternoon.”Anyone already in Italy coming from this territory is required to perform an antigenic or molecular test“, added the Minister.”The variant of Covid recently discovered in London is worrying and will need to be further investigated by our scientists. In the meantime, we choose the path of the greatest caution“, concluded M. Speranza.
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The text of the ordinance, very brief, specifies that the decision comes into force on the date of its adoption, this Sunday, but without giving the time, and that it will remain valid until January 6. This measure comes the day after the announcement by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson of a re-containment of London, the south-east of England and part of the east, after the discovery of a variant of the Covid -19 in these areas.