Source: Global Times
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT
The UK has found a new variant of the novel coronavirus, and the contagious rate is 70 percent higher than the original virus. This has sent shockwaves in Europe and the world. Europe and countries from other regions have temporarily blocked travel from the UK. The UK is now facing another tough time since the outbreak of the virus this year.
The government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson was determined to fire the first shot at the variant of the virus during the Christmas holiday, and carried out harsh measures including a quasi-lockdown in London and the southeastern part of England. This is not easy. The UK has paid a heavy price for its non-systematic anti-virus fight. But it is never too late to do it.
Fighting the novel coronavirus is an arduous battle, and humanity has to make sacrifices. Herd immunity is nothing but an illusion. Modern human society cannot bear the costs. A strong social mobilization is essential to cut the transmission channel of the virus. For a society that cannot strictly enforce social distancing at critical junctures, people have to make up for it.
People know little about the variant virus. It is unknown whether its high contagious rate is a result of nature or frequent social activities of the British people. What is uncertain as well is whether the vaccine is effective against the variant virus. Time will tell.
The variant of the virus is very likely to add more twists and turns to humanity’s anti-virus fight. The over-optimistic view in recent days that the US-developed vaccine will bring an end to this unprecedented pandemic will face questions.
The US has almost given up efforts to mobilize society to fight the virus, but pinned all of its hopes on vaccine. The harm of this attitude has so far been fully proven. The US’ attitude has profoundly affected many countries in the West and even the world, which is a bad example of giving up the COVID-19 fight because of the difficult work.
There are too many infected people worldwide. This provides more possibilities for the virus to fight human beings for a long time through mutation and other methods. If the infection level of most parts of the world is the same as that in China and East Asia, it would definitely be much easier to wipe out COVID-19 after the vaccine is released. But now, COVID-19 has spread to all parts of the world, and the conditions that cause their mutation are very different. It will be much harder to eliminate them, and by no means can vaccines developed by American companies such as Pfizer quickly achieve it.
To defeat COVID-19, in addition to relying on vaccines, the world must unite as soon as possible and take coordinated actions. The world should truly form as a whole from detection, monitoring the latest trends of the pandemic, to responding to it. There is a mutated virus in the UK and many European countries have temporarily suspended flights from Britain. But the US and some countries are slow to take action, and most countries have close aviation ties with the other US. Such kind of prevention and control is far from being networked. Many countries believe that by suspending flights, their governments have done their job. But many infected people may have already entered their country. Such a COVID-19 fight is largely superficial.
The US took the first step to ban flights when the coronavirus broke out in China and Europe. However, the US later experienced the world’s worst epidemic explosion. This is a lesson for countries and regions that have cut off flights from Britain.
The current ruling team in Washington is the main obstacle to the world’s unity in fighting the pandemic. They are the main culprit of why the world lacks cooperation when facing the coronavirus. According to the current situation, the mutated virus in the UK has a high possibility of spreading to all parts of the world. The consequences will depend on whether the mutated virus is really more contagious and deadly. Human beings are almost resigned to their fate.
Since China has established a strong prevention and control system, we will bear much less pressure. But even so, we cannot take it lightly. For the mutated virus, now is the time to test the effectiveness of China’s defense against imported cases. Hong Kong is the weak part of this wave of prevention and control. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government has announced a ban of passenger flights from Britain starting Tuesday, but this is not enough.