Just when we thought that the COVID-19 pandemic was receding, we received some gloomy news. There’s a new COVID strain doing the rounds. Our coronavirus vaccine drive is almost underway and at this point, news of a new COVID strain, the B117 virus has got everyone asking the question- does this mean a new lockdown?
Here’s what you need to know.
What do scientists know about the B117 virus?
The B117 virus originated as a mutation of the coronavirus in the eastern and southern UK in September and by the end of the year, scientists everywhere had started studying the B117 virus. Why did it cause so much concern when other COVID strains did not?
Experts have found that the B117 virus is much more contagious than other COVID strains. It is almost 70% more transmissible.
The good news is, despite being more contagious than the regular coronavirus, the B117 virus is definitely not more dangerous than the other strains.
The situation in the UK
Since this virus broke out in the UK and spread like wildfire, it did not come as a surprise when PM Boris Johnson declared the second lockdown in the country that lasted for the last two months of 2020 and going by the most recent reports, it may continue until February 2021.
India along with many countries had suspended flights to Britain over fears that international travel will expedite the spread of the new virus in India.
Is lockdown necessary in India?
Despite the suspension of flights, the B117 virus has reached India. As per December reports, more than 5 people who arrived in India from Britain tested positive for this new strain. They have exposed others to the virus as well.
How likely is a new lockdown in India? Not very at this moment. The threats to the economy posed by a new lockdown are numerous and so far the B117 virus has not reached dangerous levels. Besides, preparations to roll out the coronavirus vaccine are in full swing.
Keep yourself safe
The same measures that prevent the spread of other COVID strains are effective against the B117 virus-
- Wear a mask whenever you go out
- Maintain social distancing and go out only when necessary
- Sanitize your hands frequently when outside
- Wash, clean, and disinfect your food packers, vegetables, groceries, fruits, clothes, and bags.
The end of the pandemic is very near. The COVID vaccine will soon immunize us. Until that happens, let us try our best to keep each other safe.