UK detects second variant of coronavirus from South Africa
The United Kingdom has announced that it has discovered in the country a second new variant of the SARS-COV-2 coronavirus originating from South Africa.
According to press reports, the British Health Minister has assured that this second variant it would have an even faster rate of transmission than that found in southern England.
Frank Konings, is a laboratory expert from the World Health Organization, valued this news in a meeting on social networks. “There has recently been an announcement from the UK that a similar virus [al de Sudáfrica] it has been detected there as well. Two variants with a 501.V mutation. The fact that they are detected obviously does not mean that they are immediately spreading through the country, but that the mechanisms we have work and it is very important that they are constantly monitored the genetic sequences of viruses ”.
Regarding the first variant announced by the United Kingdom a few days ago, Jeffrey Barret, who leads the research at the Sangers Institute, one of the organisms that detected the virus, explained why it is important. “Viruses change all the time and it is perfectly natural, but generally it happens slowly and in the 30,000 letters of RNA we see one or two mutations at a time. In this variant there have been 23 at a time, it is something very unusual and has never been seen before in the pandemic and some of them are in regions of the virus genome that scientists believe are important for its function, “he explained, adding that the speed with which it has spread has made this mutation require attention.
Barret explained that this variant of the virus has been confirmed in 3000 people, but the actual number of infected will be “much much higher” because only a few samples are sequenced. The expert estimates that tens of thousands of people may be infected and although most cases are concentrated in east and south-east London, the variant has already been seen throughout the country.
In addition, they warned that it is “Entirely possible” that the British variant is in other countries and it has not been detected, as not all make as many genetic sequences as the UK.
The experts insisted that the same precautionary measures must continue to be taken. At the moment, there is no evidence that the new types cause a more serious disease. The genetic sequences of the new variants have already been sent to the drug companies that are developing the vaccines for testing, but specialists are optimistic that the vaccines will continue to work. “Right now, there is absolutely no sign at all that this virus behaves differently from other variants. We don’t see early signs of reinfection what would happen if this virus did not respond to the immunity of previous infections. So there is nothing that worries us and we continue with the vaccination program ”, explains Judy Breuer, professor of virology at University College London.
Thousands of migrants will sleep in the open after the destruction of a camp between Bosnia and Croatia
“This is a nightmare scenario: these people should be inside in warm conditions, just as the rest of Europe is doing at this holiday time.”
– @PeterAuweraert. pic.twitter.com/l83InfWPfr
– IOM – UN Migration (@UNmigration) December 23, 2020
Thousands of people will sleep in the open tonight in Bosnia, after the Lipa camp on the Croatian border was closed on Wednesday and later destroyed in a fire.
The camp, managed by the Bosnian authorities and the International Organization for Migration, was built earlier this year and “for various reasons, mainly political, it was never connected to the main water or electricity supply and it was never winterized, ”said the head of that UN agency in Bosnia and Herzegovina. in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Days of negotiations on the future of the field ended without an agreement, so 1,400 people will join those already sleeping rough on Bosnia’s border with Croatia, a member country of the European Union.
IOM estimates that another 1,500 migrants, asylum seekers and refugees – including women and children – are also stranded in nearby makeshift camps and settlements.
Nail 3,000 people urgently need help. IOM, the Red Cross and the Danish Council for Refugees have already distributed warm clothes, sleeping bags, food and hygiene kits to 1,500 people sleeping on the street and are going to distribute more. The head of the Organization speaks of a “Nightmare scenario”. “These people should be covered, with heating, as the rest of Europe is doing this holiday season.”
UN criticizes Donald Trump’s pardon for security guards who killed Iraqi civilians
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has expressed concern about the pardons granted by the President of the United States, Donald Trump, to four security guards from the private military company Blackwater who were convicted of killing 14 Iraqi civilians.
Bachelet’s office remembers that these four people They received sentences ranging from 12 years to life in prison, including on first-degree murder charges. “Forgive them contributes to impunity and it has the effect of encouraging others to commit these crimes in the future ”, they say in a statement.
Victims of serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law also have the right to reparation, they add, and this includes that the “perpetrators serve penalties proportional to the gravity of their conduct.”
The Human Rights Office calls on the United States to renew its commitment to fight impunity.
Journalism is at risk of “extinction” after the “perfect storm” suffered by the COVID-19 crisis, warns UNESCO.
The economic crisis threatens the viability and survival of professional media, in particular due to the massive loss of advertising revenue, and has created an even more precarious environment for media workers.
Furthermore, in many countries, emergency legislation and measures taken to curb the spread of the virus have served as an alibi for restricting freedom of expression and of the press.
Regarding the safety of informants, UNESCO has denounced the death of 59 this year. Latin America and the Caribbean, with 22 murders, is the region with the most deaths along with Asia and the Pacific. It is followed by the Arab countries (9), Africa (6).