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UK hit by new coronavirus strain



UK hit by new coronavirus strain: All your questions answered

The new Covid-19 strain, which is said to be up to 70 per cent more transmissible than the original, has already forced several countries to shut their borders or ban travel with the UK and has sowed fears of further economic disruptions.

Only a detailed scientific analysis will reveal the extent of the problem – which could take a few weeks to generate results. (AP)

As Covid-19 vaccines start being rolled out in several countries, a new strain of the coronavirus discovered in Britain has sparked panic globally. The strain, which is said to be up to 70 per cent more transmissible than the original, has already forced several countries to shut their borders or ban travel with the UK and has sowed fears of further economic disruptions.

Here’s everything you need to know about this new strain of coronavirus

What is this new strain of coronavirus?

The new variant, which UK scientists have named “VUI – 202012/01” includes a genetic mutation in the “spike” protein that the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus uses to infect human cells. According to scientists, these changes, in theory, can lead to a quicker spread of Covid-19 between people.

When and where was it discovered?

According to a BBC report, the variant was first detected in September in the United Kingdom. In November around a quarter of cases in London were linked to this new variant. The virus-carrying this mutation has so far caused 1,100 new infections in 60 local authority areas, according to reports quoting UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

Where has it been reported and is it more severe?

Apart from the UK, Italy is another such country where the new strain of the virus has been found. France also spoke about the possibility of the new strain of coronavirus in the country. Australia too on Monday reported the mutant strain of coronavirus in two returnees from the UK.

Travellers look at the information boards at King’s Cross station, as EU countries impose a travel ban from the UK following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in London, Britain, December 21, 2020. (Reuters)

However, there is no evidence so far that suggests that the new variant will cause severe Covid-19 infections. As per scientists, mutations, or genetic changes, arise naturally in all viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, as they replicate and circulate among humans. However, an increase in transmission would be enough to cause problems for hospitals where more number of people will be coming for treatment.

How has the world responded?

As of Monday, the United Kingdom stood shut off from the rest of Europe after several nations decided to close borders over fears of the new coronavirus strain. France became the first to close its border with the UK for 48 hours.

Apart from France, Germany, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Austria, Bulgaria, Romania, Malta, Croatia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Italy, Netherlands, India, Belgium, Greece, Russia, Hong Kong, Israel, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and El Salvador have banned flights to and from the UK. Saudi Arabia, notably, has suspended all international flights over the fear of the new strain of coronavirus.

India too has joined over two dozen countries in banning inbound travel from the UK. The government also said that as a measure of abundant precaution, passengers arriving from the UK in all transit flights — those that have taken off or flights which are reaching India before 11:59 pm on December 22 — would be subject to mandatory RT-PCR test on arrival at the respective airports.

The Maharashtra government has said that all passengers coming from Europe and the Middle East would have to mandatorily undergo 15 days institutional quarantine while travellers from other international destinations will have to undergo home quarantine.

Meanwhile, the Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan Monday said that the government was on alert about the new strain of coronavirus and urged people not to panic. Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Director General Shekhar Mande said, “We have not found this (particular mutation) in Indian isolates yet.”

Will vaccines work against this new strain of virus?

So far, yes. On questions on whether the mutation can affect an individual’s response to the vaccine, scientists said this was unlikely. The virus has undergone several mutations since it first infected humans, which scientists say is neither unexpected nor a cause for panic.

Dr Gagandeep Kang, Professor at Christian Medical College, Vellore, said that several coronavirus vaccines are designed to create antibodies targeting the spike protein. But the vaccines target multiple regions on the spike, while a mutation refers to a change in a single point.  So, if there is one mutation, it does not mean vaccines would not work, Dr Kang said.

“It is likely that there will be differences between certain aspects like anti-bodies but it doesn’t necessarily mean that vaccines will be ineffective. Vaccines will be equally effective despite the mutation. So there is no reason to panic,” PTI quoted Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Director General Shekhar Mande as saying.


SOURCE: India Express

Lady reveals the condition of her brother who contacted the mutated virus




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Don’t accept wike’s deceptive Financial bribe- IPOB warns IMO communities




The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB has warned the people of Ohaji Local Government Area of Imo State against ceding their land to Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State.

IPOB cautioned the people of Ohaji against accepting Wike’s alleged satanic and deceptive financial inducement.

Emma Powerful, the spokesman of IPOB, issued the warning in reaction to an alleged illegal and undocumented ceding of communities in Ohaji Local Government Area to Wike.

Powerful warned that ceding their communities to Wike would affect their children’s future; hence such a deceptive move should be rejected.

He urged the communities to treat whoever is persuading them to change their state of origin as a criminal.

Powerful noted that accepting to change their state of origin for the sake of N150,000 monthly is evil.

A statement by Powerful reads partly: “Following an illegal undocumented treaty to cede communities of Ohaji Egbema LGA from Imo State to Rivers State via a crooked financial inducement by current Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike.

“We the global family and movement of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) under the command and leadership of our great leader Mazi Nnamdi KANU wish to warn that such project is called to a halt to avert inevitable consequences.

“We suggest to the communities that fall into this deceptive venture masterminded by Nyesom Wike to retrace their steps, considering that this singular act could attract futuristic destructive effects.

“IPOB was intimated with the information regarding Governor Wike’s plan, which includes conditional future promises and haven gone through these moves realized that Wike will abandon them in future because governor Wike cannot be in charge of Rivers State beyond his tenor as a current Governor.

“It is a known fact that the Imo State government failed in their obligations as it concerns the predicaments they are facing in that area, but they must forget Wike with his satanic offer. Wike’s deceptive offer would harm them and their children in the future as such may not be sustainable by successive governments. Moreover, the Biafra restoration approaches hastily.

“IPOB is advising them to retrace their steps and watch what God Almighty has in stock for them; changing God Almighty’s plans for children will harm the communities in the future, for God to have placed you where you are today does not mean that he has abandoned you.

“The communities or anybody persuading them to change their State of origin identity and be acquired like slaves with cash value of N150 (One Hundred and Fifty Naira Only) is evil and must be treated as criminal because we don’t see where old men and women, youths and educated people would allow such an undocumented territorial treaty due to hunger and abandonment.”

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2023 elections: Pastor David Ibiyeomie tells Nigerians who to vote



Pastor David

Pastor David Ibiyeomieof Salvation Ministries has addressed Nigerians on those to vote ahead of the 2023 general elections

Ibiyeomie urged Nigerians to vote for politicians with a vision for the country and not a politician.

He gave the remark while addressing his members at the church’s headquarters in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

Pastor David Ibiyeomie noted that anyone who collects money to vote in the forthcoming election sold their conscience, stressing that electorates should vote for a statesman.

According to Ibiyeomie: “If you take money to vote, then you have sold your conscience. When we are shouting, you people will say I don’t shout. I am shouting now. Don’t collect bribes to vote, vote for your conscience.

“Don’t vote party again in Nigeria; vote for someone who has a vision. Nigeria is in the woods; she needs someone who has a vision.

“No politician should be voted; vote for a statesman instead. A statesman thinks of the next generation, a politician thinks only of the 2023 general elections.”

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Interpol arrests three Nigerians for international scam




The International Police (INTERPOL) has arrested three Nigerians over alleged global scam.

The trio were arrested in a sting operation conducted simultaneously in a Lagos suburb, Ajegunle and in Benin City, 300 km to the East of the commercial capital.

One of the scammers, Hendrix Omorume has been charged and convicted and now faces a 12-month prison sentence.

The three men, aged between 31 and 38, were each arrested in possession of fake documents, including fraudulent invoices and forged official letters.

The investigation was conducted in conjunction with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The operation is part of a global operation codenamed “Killer Bee” involving INTERPOL National Central Bureaus (NCBs) and law enforcement in 11 countries across Southeast Asia.

According to INTERPOL’s Director of Cybercrime, Craig Jones, the organisation had “to alert Nigeria to a serious security threat where millions could have been lost without swift police action.”

The laptops and mobile phones seized by EFCC during the arrests, were examined by the INTERPOL to help confirm the systematic use of “Agent Tesla” malware to access business computers and divert monetary transactions to their own accounts.

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