"Hello, Mindy! I heard from the news that there’s a new coronavirus strain from the UK. Can you please
tell me more about it? Will the vaccines, which are currently being administered in several countries, work against it? Will our government impose quarantine guidelines again? Thank you very much! -Joaquin"
Hi Joaquin! Unfortunately, the news is real. And as much as I hate to add bad news, I have to inform you that the new coronavirus variant identified in the United Kingdom appears to be more contagious
than the common Covid-19 strain. World Health Organization said that the new strain has 56% more chance of infecting another person
as compared to the standard strain. However, there is no evidence to suggests that it is more deadly. Just the same, the new strain is said to have been wreaking havoc
in the UK, overwhelming hospitals
, and forcing the government to implement stricter lockdowns.
Will the vaccines being currently administered in some countries work against it? Leading biotechnology companies like Pfizer and Moderna have been testing their current vaccines to see whether they are as equally effective against the UK-based strain as the ones they are currently distributing. Nevertheless, experts are optimistic that the vaccines should work against the new strain. But as it infects more people quickly, governments and medical authorities around the world need to reexamine their plans and strategies to contain the new Covid-19 strain and make sure that it does make the pandemic worse than it already is.
Here in the Philippines, authorities have recently taken precautionary measures to make sure the new strain won't reach the country. Flights from UK has been banned until the 2nd week of January 2021. President Rodrigo Duterte said government response would remain the same, but another set of lockdowns is possible should the situation becomes severe. In any case, the Metro Manila and other critical areas will still be under general community quarantine until 31 January 2021. So please do your share and follow health guidelines and quarantine protocols. Keep safe!