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Three quarters of new Covid infections in UK due to B.1.617.2 'variant of concern': Health minister

WION Web Team
London, United KingdomUpdated: May 28, 2021, 12:48 PM IST

Photograph:(Reuters)

Story highlights

A few weeks ago, the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, had warned that the government "may need to wait" a little before lifting all coronavirus-related restrictions

The UK has reopened its economy and locals are flocking outdoors to meet their loved ones. However, a variant 'of concern' of coronavirus still poses a threat for the country.

UK’s health secretary Matt Hancock claims there is a possibility that up to three quarters of the new coronavirus infections are linked to the B.1.617.2 variant, which was first detected by health experts of India.

This variant has been labelled as a 'variant of concern' by experts of World Health Organization (WHO) and is being understood to be highly infectious and probably more deadly.

A few weeks ago, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson had warned that the government "may need to wait" a little before lifting all coronavirus-related restrictions, which was originally planned to take place on June 21.

The local health experts believe the increased cases are a result of the new variant and also due to increased testing in the worst-affected areas.

"I think it is really, really just on the cusp at the moment, if we see cases rise we are not clear yet quite whether that is a rise in the variant cases taking off or whether it is actually a rise because we are actively, quite rightly, detecting them and then challenging these chains of transmission," Dr Jenny Harries, the chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, said at a press conference.

Meanwhile, the UK is also investigating a new variant, based on the new mutations of the virus. This new variant has been named C.36.3, for now and first detected in Thailand from the people who had travelled from Egypt.