UK confirms new virus strain spreads more quickly

Published December 20, 2020
A British government health information advertisement highlighting new restrictions amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is seen in London, Britain, December 19. — Reuters
A British government health information advertisement highlighting new restrictions amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is seen in London, Britain, December 19. — Reuters

LONDON: England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty confirmed on Saturday that a new coronavirus strain which surfaced in the country could spread faster and called for greater public vigilance to reduce transmission.

Whitty said London had informed the World Health Organisation of its findings.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock on Monday said scientists had identified a “new variant” in the south of England that could be causing infections to spread faster.

Britain has seen rising cases and hospital admissions this month and Prime Minister Boris Johnson was set to give a press conference on the virus situation on Saturday afternoon.

The prime minister was reportedly to announce new travel restrictions for London and southeast England in the run-up to Christmas.

“As a result of the rapid spread of the new variant, preliminary modelling data and rapidly rising incidence rates in the South East (an expert body advising the government) now consider that the new strain can spread more quickly,” Whitty said.

Published in Dawn, December 20th, 2020

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