Peru's Health Institute: New coronavirus strain more contagious, though not more lethal

Photo: ANDINA/Diffusion

Photo: ANDINA/Diffusion

00:00 | Lima, Dec. 23.

The new COVID-19 strain found in the United Kingdom is more contagious among people but is not more lethal, National Health Institute (INS) Chief Cesar Cabezas has clarified.

"Based on epidemiological studies conducted in the United Kingdom, this virus has a greater capacity to be transmitted. However, there is no evidence to suggest that it is more aggressive or lethal. Mortality has not changed in the area where this strain has spread," Cabezas told Andina news agency.

According to the infectious disease specialist, British scientists have found that —since the new variant emerged— the virus has become 70% more transmissible.

In this context, he warned, those who are most at risk are the groups in vulnerable situations, such as the elderly, diabetic people, and individuals with obesity or chronic diseases.

"The fact that there is a new transmission (of the disease) means that it can affect more people, and if those people have risk factors for severe cases, they will be developed," he emphasized.

Accordingly, he described as correct the recent measures adopted by the Peruvian Government to halt travel to and from Europe in order to ensure that the new variant of coronavirus does not spread in the country.

Cabezas reiterated the importance of complying with the three main biosafety measures (hand washing, use of face masks, and physical distancing) recommended by health authorities to contain the spread of this virus.

"Regardless of the variant and of whether it has entered Peru or not, hand washing, the use of face masks, and physical distancing continue to be axioms that we must comply with," he explained.

Although he acknowledged that the population is exhausted and is taking a more relaxed attitude, Cabezas called on Peruvians to resist and continue to comply with health guidelines, especially at this time of year-end celebrations.


Published: 12/23/2020
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