New COVID-19 strain from South Africa detected in UK: Health secretary Matt Hancock

WION Web Team
London Published: Dec 23, 2020, 09:01 PM(IST)

Coronavirus in UK Photograph:( AFP )

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As the virus continues to surge in the country, the health secretary informed that there has been a significant number of new variant cases rising in East Anglia.

As the UK battles a new strain of coronavirus, UK health secretary Matt Hancock said another new strain of COVID-19 has been detected which has originated from South Africa.

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"Anyone who has been in South Africa during the last fortnight or anyone who was in close contact with anyone in South Africa must be quarantined immediately," Hancock said, adding, "all travellers from South Africa in the past two weeks must isolate immediately due to the new variant which has been identified."

"The development is “highly concerning” because the new variant is more transmissible and appears to have mutated further," he added. Hancock said South Africa has been placed in immediate travel restriction with two cases detected in the country.

As the virus continues to surge in the country, the health secretary informed that there has been a significant number of new variant cases rising in East Anglia.

Hancock announced that Essex, Norfolk, Sussex, Surrey, Oxfordshire and Hampshire will enter Tier 4 restrictions from Boxing Day while Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Swindon, Isle of Wight, New Forest, Northamptonshire, Cheshire and Warrington enter Tier 3 restrictions.

"Cornwall and Herefordshire will go into Tier 2 from Boxing Day," he said.

British PM Johnson last Saturday had said a new strain of the virus was discovered which was "70 per cent" more transferable while announcing Tier 4 lockdown measures across England.

The  British PM's revelation had lead several countries to impose travel restrictions on UK which is expected to continue in the New Year.

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