European officials express concern about “shocking” new Covid variant

People walking through the main street of the Christmas market in Barcelona, ​​Spain.

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A senior EU official stated that the new coronavirus The variant is “shocking” and admits that it may have an impact on the region’s economy.

A few countries, especially South Africa and Botswana, have confirmed cases of the new variant, Called B.1.1.529. Experts tried to calm the initial concerns by emphasizing that the Covid-19 vaccine should still be effective.

EU Financial Stability Commissioner McGuinness said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” program on Friday: “What is happening is worrying.”

She added: “Of course, for our economy, if there are further restrictions when this situation escalates, we hope not, then you may see some impact,” she pointed out that compared with other countries, the EU Now we are more capable of responding to the pandemic. With the first wave.

The emergence of the new variant comes as different European countries are struggling to cope with the increasing number of cases of the delta variant, so social restrictions have been announced to curb the spread. This means that some countries, including Austria and the Czech Republic, have focused on the unvaccinated population.

But for most EU governments, the new measures include mandatory use of masks in indoor spaces and recommendations to work from home. So far, no comprehensive blockade has been widely announced, which is in sharp contrast to the previous wave.

European officials are also stepping up their efforts to increase vaccination. European Commission President Ursula von der Lein said on Thursday: “A quarter of EU adults are still not fully vaccinated. If you are not vaccinated, you are more likely to have severe COVID-19 symptoms. Vaccination Can protect you and others.”

‘very worried’

“It seems that this particular variant has a very worrying set of mutations, especially in the spike protein, which is necessary for its transmission properties and protection of the vaccine, so based on genetic information, we are very concerned about it,” Parcy Pentinen, the public health emergency manager of the European Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told CNBC on Friday.

ECDC is assessing the situation and will report to EU governments later on Friday​​.

“Regarding the situation in South Africa, we still have a lot to understand. Now all efforts should be made not only in South Africa, but also in countries in Southern Africa to ensure that they fully understand the virus,” he said.

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