That’s what viruses do and our nation did well to spot the mutation and alert others so quickly. The fall out from that, of course, is profound.
As the virus finds new ways to infect people, so more stringent measures are required to mitigate against its spread. Most NHS trusts are at 90 per cent occupancy as we head into the busy period of winter. Operations and routine treatments are being cancelled and the situation at Dover, where trucks are unable to leave, is alarming.
European hauliers will undoubtedly decide against sending workers to the UK with supplies, lest their drivers become stranded. We are isolated from Europe at the worst possible moment.
Health Minister Matt Hancock has intimated that there may be a lockdown until the immunisation is rolled out. Certainly, if we are to prevent deaths on a greater scale than spring, that would seem to be the only option in town. Schools are due to return in January on a phased basis, much of London, the South East and the East is cut off and the scenes at London railway stations at the weekend means the virus will soon be prevalent in other parts of the UK.
There is light at the end of the tunnel, though we should remember that we rely on importing the vaccine from Europe. It is not manufactured here.
This will be a very different Christmas to those that people remember. The hope remains that the vaccine will help restore a level of normality by spring next year – but for the time being it seems stringent restrictions will be in place for the time being.
There is little that can be done, other than to stick to the rules and remember the hands, face and space guidance.
The nation has shown how resilient and disciplined it can be and now is a time for it to step up to the plate.
We are heading into our third wave of infection and precautions to guard against further infections will inevitably last for some time. We must stick to our guns, show kindness to others, work hard to prevent infection and follow the rules at all times.