The EU’s agency for disease control has warned that the political bloc could face a new wave of coronavirus infections due to the spread of mutated strains.
One of the mutated variants, first found in the UK, has spread to at least 20 countries in Europe, while another mutation, first recorded in South Africa, has been detected in ten European countries. Another variety of the Chinese coronavirus was also recently detected in Brazil.
Pyotr Kramarz, emergency response manager at the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), stated that countries have a chance to prepare for the third wave of the virus. Kramarz said, according to Expressen: “We have a window time, now. This is an important opportunity where we have time to prepare for a potential next wave in the pandemic, driven by the new mutated variants.”
The ECDC has also advised EU member states to increase testing and tracking of Chinese coronavirus infections to trace the spread of the variants of the disease. “It’s important to slow down the rate of spread of these variants,” Kramarz said.
“We feel that now this is the time for these vaccine certificates to be recognised across the European Union, and even beyond the European Union.” https://t.co/UsZ0T3Wqw8
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Earlier this week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff Helge Braun stated that Germany might be forced to close its borders to neighbours if coronavirus cases remain high, and warned of the spread of mutations of the virus.
“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,” Braun said.
“Therefore, even stricter entry rules at our borders are unavoidable, and since everyone does not want that, it is important that we act together now,” he added.
The move comes as Germany prepares for even stricter lockdown measures which will be put in place in the coming weeks as cases in the country remain high. The lockdown restrictions have also been extended to February 14th.
The UK has also considered closing its border, with Secretary of State for Health Matt Hanock stating: “We brought in very significant measures last week to close the travel corridors and we remain vigilant to what we need to do to guard against new variants coming in from abroad.”
“The new variants do change this question, because it’s not just about ensuring we don’t get extra cases coming in from abroad. If a country has a lower case rate than us, there’s no more risk than people staying here in this country,” he said.