COVID-19 has claimed 2 million lives globally as at Friday, January 15 Johns Hopkins University reports. Speculations are that more persons have died from the virus. Despite the record speed in the development of vaccines and the race to inoculate as many as possible in the shortest possible time, the death toll in both developed and developing countries continues to rise.
Experts have cautioned that by March 2021 the dominant strain of the virus in the US will be the variant which was originally found in the UK.
This variant does not cause any greater degree of illness but spreads 50% faster than the original strain. Scientists are feverishly conducting research to look at the various mutations, their effects and the effectiveness of the existing COVID -19 vaccines against them. Persons have been cautioned that even after receiving the first dose of the vaccine they should behave as if it did not happen. The same safety precautions should be adhered to as the first dose only is not very effective and even with both doses there is no 100% guarantee of immunity against the virus.
As of Monday, all U.K travel corridors will be closed. The measure was announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday. This is in an effort to prevent new variants from entering the country. The Department of Transport has released the very strict protocols which are similar to those of the US and Canada. Boris Johnson said,
“….if you come to this country, you must have proof of a negative COVID-19 test that you’ve taken in the 72 hours before leaving. And you must have filled in your passenger locator form, and your airline will ask for proof of both before you take off. You may also be checked when you land and face substantial fines for refusing to comply, and upon arrival, you must then quarantine for 10 days, not leaving your home for any reason at all. Or take another test on day five and wait for proof of another negative result. And we will be stepping up our enforcement, both at the border and in the country.”
In the meantime, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has asked residents to “buckle down” as the struggle continues. The country’s health care system like many others around the world is under strain due to the rise in the number of cases. Canadian health officials report that the number of deaths may surpass that seen in the first spike. In light of the realities and the news that COVID-19 vaccines have been delayed, the Prime Minister said,
“We have to buckle down, this is our best way through in the coming weeks of winter.” Dr Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer during a news briefing Friday said there is no indication that the country is bringing the spread under control.
AS countries around the world continue to reel from the effects of this pandemic, the call is for individuals to act responsibly and play their part in stemming the tide.