The UK has become the pariah of the world thanks to incredibly high coronavirus case and death rates, powered by a mutant strain of the virus which has spread across the country
Dozens of countries have or are considering banning travel to the UK as the mutant strain continues to rip through British society.
The UK has become an international pariah in the past month, with huge case figures and the highest Covid-19 death rate in the whole world.
Today Boris Johnson warned that the mutated virus, which has now reached all corners of the country, may lead to significantly more deaths than previous strains.
Concern about the highly transmissible variant has led Governments overseas to ban Brits from entering their countries.
The Netherlands has decided to stop all passenger flights and ferry travel from the UK tonight.
A statement on the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the “ban on flying and mooring will probably be lifted when quarantine becomes mandatory by Dutch law.”
The European Union is also weighing up the possibility of barring Brits from coming onto the continent.
The chief of staff of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Helge Braun, explained to ARD why the drawbridge to the UK may temporarily be drawn up.
“The danger is that when the infections in a country go up, this mutation becomes a quasi-majority variant and then the infection can no longer be controlled,” he said.
“And therefore even stricter entry rules at our internal borders are unavoidable, and since everyone does not want that, it is important that we act together now.”
The Philippines government, which banned travellers from the UK before Christmas, says there are at least 16 patients with the mutant strain in the country.
Health officials in Nova Scotia in Canada and New Jersey in the US have also tracked down a case each.
By banning British travel other countries are seeking to avoid a coronavirus situation as bad as the UK’s.
This week has been a record breaking one in terms of Covid fatalities, with the daily death record being shattered twice.
At the Downing Street press conference this afternoon chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance explained why the country may be being hit so hard by the virus.
Countries with bans on all but essential trips from the UK: Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Romania and Slovakia.
Countries that have banned all but their own nationals travelling from the UK: Czech Republic, Greece (so long as they test negative), Liechtenstein, Malta and Switzerland.
He said the coronavirus variant which emerged in Kent is “a common variant comprising a significant number of cases” and transmits between 30% and 70% more easily than the original virus.
Sir Patrick said that among people who have tested positive for Covid-19, there is “evidence that there is an increased risk” of death for those who have the new variant compared with the old virus.
He said: “(For the original version of the virus), if you took a man in their 60s, the average risk is that for a thousand people who got infected, roughly 10 would be expected to unfortunately die … with the new variant, for a thousand people infected, roughly 13 or 14 people might be expected to die.
His comments come after Professor Neil Ferguson, of Imperial College London, told ITV’s Robert Peston: “It is a realistic possibility that the new UK variant increases the risk of death, but there is considerable remaining uncertainty.
“Four groups – Imperial, LSHTM (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine), PHE (Public Health England), and Exeter – have looked at the relationship between people testing positive for the variant vs old strains and the risk of death.
“So for 60-year-olds, 13 in 1,000 might die compared with 10 in 1,000 for old strains.
“The big caveat is that we only know which strain people were infected with for about 8% of deaths.”
He tweeted: “We have now learned that, in addition to spreading more quickly, the new variant of the virus may also be associated with a higher degree of mortality.
“It is therefore more important than ever that we all follow the rules and stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.”
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