Publication: Tuesday, April 27, 2021 09:51
India is now the epicenter of COVID-19 around the world. And given the average of nearly 300,000 daily infections and more than 2,000 deaths over the past week, territories around the world have started taking action to prevent new infections.
Australia, Iran, Pakistan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore or Canada are on the list of countries that have decided to cancel all flights from India. In the case of the first, at least until May 15, since Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison asks “to slow down considerably in the coming weeks”, in particular by confirming that 95% of new cases of coronavirus in repatriated Australians in the North Territory came from India.
As for Europe, some countries have also started to take new restrictions. This is the case of France or the United Kingdom: in France, nationals of the countries most affected by the new strains, such as Brazil, Chile, South Africa or Argentina, cannot enter France. (including overseas departments and territories) that in case of emergency travel is justified. And now India is joining this group, where a mandatory RAP and ten days of quarantine will also be required.
The same was true of the state chaired by Boris Johnson, as ten days of quarantine are required for travelers coming from this country. Indeed, according to UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock, 103 cases of the Indian variant of COVID-19 have been identified in the UK, “the vast majority of which had links to international travel.”
Spain opens door to take further action
On Monday, the director of the Center for the Coordination of Health Alerts and Emergencies, Fernando Simón, questioned the possibility of joining these countries and canceling trips with India, clarified that it was about ‘a different situation, since Spain does not have direct flights with this country. In addition, he recalled that “it is not proven that the Indian variant occupies more space or is more serious”.
However, as Simón himself indicates, the Indian variant has the peculiarity of having two mutations, so that, although travel cannot be prohibited as such, “indirect measures can be studied”. In other words, people who come from India but make a stopover in our country because of their trip, could be subject to changes, among other possibilities.
A “ double mutant ” strain: this is the variant that overwhelms India
The new line of SARS-CoV-2 from India has already been named: its name is B.1.617, and it has a double mutation in the ear of the virus. Genetic screening maps how the strain varies, and this strain has about 15 mutations. While this is not the first time these mutations have been detected, it is the first time they have been detected together.
This may represent a paradigm shift in the fight against COVID-19. Not only nationally in India, but all over the world. “This double mutant seems to be at the origin of 70% of the cases which occur in India”, indicated this Monday to Al Rojo Vivo the scientific popularizer and director of “Indagando TV”, Graziella Almendral.
“On the one hand, it’s much more contagious. On the other hand, it could compromise the immunity generated by the vaccines and the natural infection we experience when we experience COVID, ”added the expert from laSexta.
This “double mutant” is not a matter of recent weeks. The first time a case was discovered was in October 2020, when Indian health authorities registered its detection in the global GISAID database. Since February, other countries have reported cases in their territory. From the United States and the United Kingdom, via France, Germany, the Czech Republic, Switzerland or Spain.