Due to questions over a COVID-19 version, Germany will prohibit travel from the United Kingdom beginning Saturday.
According to a post on the German Embassy’s website, Germany designated Britain as a “area of variant of concern,” and barred travel into the country to deter virus spread.
“There are local outbreaks occuring again, including cases of more infectious variants such as the Indian variant at present,” according to the post.
The Embassy noted exceptions to the ban for German nationals and people moving from one flight to another in the airport transit field.
“We looked at all available data and details,” German Ambassador Andreas Michaelis tweeted early Saturday. “We did not take this step lightly.
Since March 30, all plane passengers flying to Germany have been required to show a negative COVID-19 test taken up to 48 hours before departure. Beginning on Sunday, anybody entering Germany will be required to demonstrate a negative COVID-19 test and will be quarantined for 14 days.
According to Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health professor David Peters, the B.1.617 version accounts for 80 percent of COVID-19 cases in India and up to 20 percent of infections in the United Kingdom.
The World Health Organization has called it a “variant of concern” since it may be more transmissible and resistant to vaccines, EuroNews reported. COVID-19 infections and death have surged in India, and the variant has spread to more than 50 countries since It was first discovered in India in October.
Britain has more than 4.4 million COVID-19 cases and the most COVID-19 deaths in Europe at 127,978 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University global tracker of cases and deaths.
Germany has 3.6 million cases and 87,320 deaths from COVID-19, the same tracker shows.
India has the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases worldwide at more than 26 million cases, trailing the United States, which has more than 33 million cases, the tracker shows. India has the third-highest number of deaths at 295,525, trailing Brazil with 446,309, and the United States with 589,244.
In India, weakened immunity from COVID-19 has also made people more susceptible to a rare and potentially deadly infection called black fungus, along with other underlying conditions, especially diabetes, CNN reported.
According to CNN, thousands of black fungus cases have been registered across India, hundreds of people have been hospitalised as a result of the fungal infection, and at least 90 people have died.
Mucormycosis, also known as black fungus, is caused by a group of microorganisms known as mucormycetes in soil or compost, and although the immune system may normally fight the fungal infection, drugs used to treat COVID-19 patients, such as dexamethasone, can suppress the immune system, according to the Indian Health Ministry.
“Due to these factors, COVID-19 patients face a renewed risk of failing the battle against attacks mounted by mucormycetes,” the statement said. “Mucormycosis begins to manifest as skin infection in the air pockets located behind our forehead, nose, cheekbones, and in between the eyes and teeth. It then spreads to eyes, lungs and can even spread to the brain. It leads to blackening or discoloration over the nose, blurred or double vision, chest pain, breathing difficulties and coughing of blood.”
The second wave of coronavirus has also spread to India’s neighbor, Nepal, where 77 Sherpas, Nepal natives who usually work to support their families as guides, porters, cooks and cleaners for Mount Everest tour groups, have tested positive for COVID-19, The Telegraph reported. The Nepali Sherpas had to isolate in their tents at the Everest Base Camp after developing COVID-19 symptoms.
Similar to India, people have died while waiting to receive oxygen due to nationwide oxygen shortage, according to The Telegraph.
Nepal has over half a million cases of COVID-19 and 6,153 deaths since the pandemic began, according to Johns Hopkins global tracker.
Worldwide, COVID-19 has infected over 166 million people and killed over 3 million people.