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Health Ministry To Meet Today After Mutant Coronavirus Strain Spreads Rapidly In UK

Pedestrians and shoppers, some wearing a face mask or covering due to the COVID-19 pandemic, walks past shops on Piccadilly on December 19, 2020. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday announced a "stay at home" order for London and southeast England to slow a new coronavirus strain that is significantly more infectious. The new strain of the virus "does appear to be passed on significantly more easily," Johnson said at a televised briefing. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
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republicworld– A surge in the infection rate caused by a new variant of Coronavirus has led to millions entering a stringent new stay-at-home lockdown in the UK from Sunday, with non-essential shops and businesses now closed. This has led to an alarming situation in countries across the globe with several EU nations banning flights from the United Kingdom.

‘Studying strains of Coronavirus very closely’

Taking action, the Union Health Ministry has called an urgent meeting of its Joint Monitoring Group on Monday to discuss the emergence of a mutated variant of the Coronavirus in the UK. The British government on Saturday warned that the potent new strain of the virus was “out of control”.

“The Joint Monitoring Group (JMG) chaired by the Director-General of Health Services (DGHS) will hold a meeting on Monday morning to discuss the issue of the mutated variant of the Coronavirus reported from the UK. WHO’s India representative Dr Roderico H Ofrin, who is also a member of the JMG, is likely to participate in the meeting,” a source told news agency PTI.

“As far as India is concerned, there is no major change or mutation in the Covid strain yet. We are studying strains of Coronavirus very closely in our country. But, yes, we also keep a track of whatever is happening in the world related to the variants of COVID-19 strain,” ANI quoted an official as saying.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the new rules at a briefing from 10 Downing Street on Saturday evening, which means a planned five-day “Christmas bubble” of relaxed rules has been cancelled in favour of a new Tier 4 level to the current three-tier lockdown system to try and control the surge in infections being caused by the new mutation of the deadly virus.

“It seems that the spread is now being driven by the new variant of the virus,” Johnson said. “We have alerted the World Health Organisation and are continuing to analyse the available data to improve our understanding,” said Professor Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer for England. “There is no current evidence to suggest the new strain causes a higher mortality rate or that it affects vaccines and treatments although urgent work is underway to confirm this,” he said.