WHO in close contact with UK authorities to understand new mutation of COVID-19

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Dec 20, 2020, 09:10 AM(IST)

(File photo) Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson Photograph:( Reuters )

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The World Health Organization (WHO) on Saturday said that it was in close contact with the United Kingdom after a new strain of COVID-19 was found in the country

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Saturday said that it was in close contact with the United Kingdom after a new strain of COVID-19 was found in the country.

"They'll (UK officials) continue to share info & results of their analysis & ongoing studies. We'll update Member States & public as we learn more about the characteristics of this virus variant & any implications", WHO said in a tweet.

The new strain which was found in the UK recently is 70 per cent more infectious, but is not expected to be more deadly. 

Scientists claim that the vaccines should still be effective, a sentiment shared by UK PM Johnson on Saturday as well.

Also read: A new coronavirus strain is spreading more quickly

In an alarming development, England's Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said on Saturday that a new strain of coronavirus is spreading more quickly and urgent work was underway to confirm that it doesn't cause higher mortality rate.

“As announced on Monday, the UK has identified a new variant of Covid-19 through Public Health England’s genomic surveillance,” Whitty said in a statement.

Also read: After UK, South Africa identifies new strain of coronavirus amid second wave

“As a result of the rapid spread of the new variant, preliminary modelling data and rapidly rising incidence rates in the South East, the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG) now consider that the new strain can spread more quickly,” he said

Johnson said on Friday he hoped England would not need to go into a third lockdown after Christmas and has so far resisted calls to change plans to ease restrictions for five days over the festive period, allowing three separate households to meet indoors.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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