Health Ministry to meet over mutant Covid strain in UK

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The Union Health Ministry on Monday called an emergency meeting of its top advisors to discuss the emergence of a mutated variant of the novel Coronavirus in the UK.

The special strain of the Covid-19 virus has led to massive surge in cases in southeast England and London, and prompted several countries to ground flights from the country.

The Joint Monitoring Group will be 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 Organisation (WHO) representative and others will be part of the emergency meeting.

On December 19, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the newly identified strain of the virus may be up to 70 per cent more transmissible. His Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the new variant was “out of control”.

Immediately Saudi Arabia and several European nations, including Italy, Belgium, France and the Netherlands banned flights to and fro from the the UK after report of the mutant strain came to the fore.

The WHO 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”.

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