MUTANT CORONAVIRUS STRAIN IN UK
NEW DELHI: Alluding to the emergence of a mutated variant of coronavirus in the United Kingdom, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Monday clarified that there is no need to panic as the government is alert on the issue.
On December 19, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson had announced that the newly-identified strain of the virus may be up to 70 per cent more transmissible. According to Health Secretary Matt Hancock, the new variant was "out of control".
"The government is alert. There is no need to panic. Do not get yourself tangled in the imaginary situation, talks and panic," Vardhan said during a press conference on 'India International Science Festival-2020'.
Earlier, the Health Ministry called an emergency meeting of its top advisors to discuss the emergence of the mutated strain of Coronavirus in the United Kingdom, which has led to massive surge in cases and prompted several countries to stop incoming flights from the country.
The Joint Monitoring Group is chaired by the Director General of Health Services. Experts from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the World Health Organization (WHO) representative and others are also part of the emergency meeting.
Saudi Arabia and several European nations, including Italy, Belgium, France and the Netherlands, have banned flights to and from the United Kingdom after reports of the mutant strain came to the fore.
The WHO had tweeted late on Saturday that it was "in close contact with UK officials on the new COVID-19 virus variant and promised to update governments and the public as more is learned". (IANS)