Health Min Says No Need to Panic as New COVID Virus Strain Hits UK

The Union health ministry will meet today to discuss the concerns and implications of the new strain of the virus.

Updated
COVID-19
2 min read
A health worker conducts COVID-19 testing. Image used for representation.
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Amid rising concerns over the new strain of COVID-19 being discovered in the UK, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Monday, 21 December, said that the government is alert and that there is no need to panic.

The Union health ministry has called a meeting on Monday to discuss the concerns and implications of a new strain of the novel coronavirus being discovered.

The meeting is likely to be attended by experts from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), AIIMS, and also a representative from the World Health Organisation, reported The Indian Express. Epidemiologists and other experts are also expected to attend the meeting.

European Countries Ban Flights From the UK

Britain once again imposed a lockdown on Sunday as Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, said the newly identified strain of was “out of control”. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was quoted by news agency IANS as stating that the new variant of the novel coronavirus “may be up to 70 percent more transmissible.”

Reacting to this, several European countries have barred passenger flights from the UK. While Austria, Belgium, Italy, and Netherlands already stopped travel from the UK on Sunday, 20 December, France and Germany are considering the same, reported IANS.

Belgium has suspended flight and Eurostar arrivals from Britain from midnight local time on Sunday. Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo told a television channel that the ban would be in place for at least 24 hours.

The ban by the Netherlands, which came into effect from 6 am local time on Sunday, would last till 1 January.

No policy decision has been taken by India on any flight ban from the UK yet, but it will reportedly be considered.

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