Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 23, 2020 (SKNIS): British Airways (BA) flights between the United Kingdom (UK) and the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis have been suspended for two weeks, from Saturday, December 26, 2020, to Saturday, January 2, 2021, as a safety measure after a new variant of SARS-CoV-2 Virus (Novel Coronavirus) was discovered in the United Kingdom.
The announcement was made at the National Emergency Operations Center (NEOC) COVID-19 Briefing on December 23, 2020, by Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Hazel Laws.
The Federation joins several other countries worldwide in instituting the suspension to monitor the situation so as not to put their populations at risk.
On 14th December 2020, authorities in the United Kingdom reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) the new variant of the Novel Coronavirus.
Cases of the new variant have been detected outside of the UK. Cases were detected in Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, and South Africa, all resulting from travel.
Scientists have reported that the new variant of the Novel Coronavirus has higher transmissibility, estimated between 40 and 70 percent. However, their initial analysis suggests there is no change in the severity of illness or the mortality rate, no reports of poorer clinical outcomes, no higher mortality, and no specific population group that has been affected.
Additionally, there is currently no evidence that the mutations in the spike protein will affect vaccine efficacy.