New COVID variant officially named and Javid warns of ‘huge international concern’ as first case found in Europe
No cases of the new COVID variant have been detected in the UK, but it is highly likely it has now spread beyond southern Africa, the health secretary has said.
Sajid Javid warned the new strain could be more transmissible than the Delta variant and there is a “possibility it might have a different impact on individuals” who get the virus.
He said the UK remains in a “strong position” due to the high vaccination take-up but said the new variant, named B.1.1.529, has an “unusually large number of mutations”.
The health secretary said it “may also impact the effectiveness of one of our major treatments, Ronapreve”, an antibody treatment being used in the NHS.
Mr Javid said: “There are no detected cases of this variant in the UK at this time. But this new variant is of huge international concern.”
He said the UK was the first country to identify “the potential threat of this new variant and to alert international partners”.
He told the Commons the variant has many features of Alpha, Beta and Delta strains but it is not yet known if it causes more severe illness.
The health secretary was making a statement to the Commons an hour before travel restrictions are brought in for six southern African countries following detection of the new variant.
Flights from South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini and Zimbabwe will be suspended from 12pm today until 4am on Sunday.
From Sunday onwards, new arrivals of UK and Irish residents into the UK from those countries will be required to quarantine in hotels after they were placed on the red list on Thursday night.
Non UK and Ireland residents will not be allowed in from those countries.
Several other countries have also restricted travel from those six African nations and more are announcing restrictions as Friday goes on.
Mr Javid confirmed the government is still following Plan A for managing COVID-19 this autumn and winter but warned “if we need to go further, we will”.
Girl, 5, dies in house fire near Crymych, Pembrokeshire
A five-year-old girl has died after a house fire in Pembrokeshire.
Alysia Salisbury – who was described by her family as “a beautiful daughter and sister” – died at the scene of the blaze, Dyfed-Powys Police said.
Emergency crews were called to the fire in the Pontyglasier area, near Crymych, shortly before 10pm on Saturday.
Detective Chief Inspector Llyr Williams said: “Our thoughts are with the family and the local community at this tragic time.
“HM Coroner has been informed and officers will now work with colleagues from the fire service to establish the cause of the fire.
“The family request privacy at this difficult time.”
Read more from Sky News:
Two men in 20s die after being pulled from sea
ITV responds to This Morning axe rumours
Alysia’s family is being supported by specialist officers, police said.
The operation on Saturday evening involved fire crews from a wide area of West Wales, including Crymych, Cardigan, Newcastle Emlyn, Whitland and Fishguard.
Leicester City and Leeds United relegated from Premier League as Everton survive on dramatic final day
Leicester City and Leeds United have been relegated from the Premier League as Everton survived on a dramatic final day.
The Toffees secured safety with an 1-0 win over Bournemouth at Goodison Park. They remain one of six clubs to have never been relegated from the Premier League since its creation.
Leicester, who lifted the title only seven years ago, beat West Ham 2-1 at the King Power Stadium but it wasn’t enough to secure their survival due to Everton’s win.
Leeds went down 4-1 at home to Tottenham Hotspur.
Harry Kane got a brace but Spurs still miss out on European qualification.
Aston Villa will play in the Europa Conference League next season. They were 2-1 winners at home to Brighton.
Manchester City were previously announced as the winners of the Premier League. However, the champions suffered a surprise 1-0 defeat at Brentford.
Frank Lampard’s last game as Chelsea interim boss ended in a 1-1 draw to Newcastle.
Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest also finished 1-1.
Arsenal thrashed Wolves 5-0, Manchester United beat Fulham 2-1 and Southampton and Liverpool played out a thrilling 4-all draw.
BMW washes out to sea after parking on Cornwall beach
A car was left stranded after parking on a Cornwall beach.
St Agnes Coastguard Search and Rescue Team was alerted to the presence of the black BMW at Trevaunance Cove, St Agnes, shortly before 8.30am on Sunday.
The team was tasked to ensure everybody in the vehicle was safe and remained at the scene while the car was recovered.
Posting pictures and video of the incident on social media, St Agnes Coastguard Search and Rescue Team said: “The vehicle was finally removed. The team stood down and returned to the station at 10.19am.”
Man rescued after 24 hours stuck on remote cliff
The Facebook post ended: “You can’t park there sir!”
Sports7 months ago
‘Storybook stuff’: Inside the night Bryce Harper sent the Phillies to the World Series
Technology2 years ago
Game consoles were once banned in China. Now Chinese developers want a slice of the $49 billion pie
Sports2 years ago
Team Europe easily wins 4th straight Laver Cup
Politics1 year ago
Have the last few wobbly weeks seen a turning point for Johnson as PM?
Business8 months ago
Bank of England’s extraordinary response to government policy is almost unthinkable | Ed Conway
Politics1 year ago
Yvette Cooper promoted and Lisa Nandy to shadow Gove on levelling up brief in Labour reshuffle
Business8 months ago
Liz Truss’s ‘favourite’ economist says chancellor ‘took his eye off ball’ and ‘overstepped the mark’ with mini-budget
Videos8 months ago
World leaders come together for Queen Elizabeth’s funeral