A new strain of COVID-19 identified in the UK may spread faster and urgent work is being done to confirm it does not cause higher death rates, says England Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty.
« As announced on Monday, the UK has identified a new variant of COVID-19 through Public Health England genomic surveillance, » said Dr. Whitty in a statement.
« We have alerted the World Health Organization and are continuing to analyze the available data to improve our understanding. «
Dr. Whitty said that while there is no current evidence that the variant of the novel coronavirus is causing higher death rates or affecting vaccines, urgent work is underway to confirm this.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson discussed with his senior ministers what urgent action to take after it was confirmed that a new strain of the COVID-19 virus can spread faster and in some cases cause spikes.
The government said Monday that a surge in infections in London and the south-east of England could be linked to a new, more transmissible variant of the virus.
Mr. Johnson will hold a press conference with Dr. Whitty and the key scientific advisor to the government and make proposals to announce new urgent measures to address the surge in cases caused by the variant strain of COVID.
Great Britain reported on Friday 28. 507 new COVID-19 cases and 489 deaths with the « R » reproductive number estimated at 1. 1 and 1. 2, which means that the number of cases is increasing rapidly.
Mr Johnson said Friday he hoped England does not have to go into a third lockdown after Christmas and so far has opposed calls to change plans to ease five-day restrictions during the festive period to allow three separate households indoors.
Much of the country, including London, is currently in the highest three tier system of restrictions to contain the spread.
The Daily Telegraph said ministers could now announce curbs for travel between southeast England, including the capital, and the rest of the country.
« If we do not act decisively now, it will mean further suffering. We keep asking ourselves, « Are we doing enough, are we acting fast enough? » Said Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust and member of the government’s scientific advisory group on emergencies (SAGE), on Twitter.
« It has been apparent for a few days that the virus has gotten out of control in parts of the country, » said Jonathan Ashworth, Labor health spokesman.
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Coronavirus, UK, Boris Johnson, strain
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