Second ‘more transmissible’ mutation of COVID-19 found in UK

TEHRAN, Dec. 23 (MNA) – Britain is already moving to widen lockdown regarding the emergence of a separate new strain of COVID-19 identified in SE England last week. That strain is said to be more transmissible, but no more severe than original virus.

UK health authorities identified a second mutated strain of the coronavirus on Wednesday, with Secretary of Health Matt Hancock saying it appears to have arrived in the country from South Africa.

"We've detected two cases of another new variant of coronavirus here in the UK," Hancock told reporters.

"This new variant is highly concerning because it is yet more transmissible and it appears to have mutated further than the [earlier reported] new variant that's been discovered in the UK," the minister said.

Hancock said the new cases have been quarantined, as have anyone who have come into close contact with them. He instructed people who have recently traveled to South Africa to quarantine, Sputnik reported.

The minister further indicated that more areas of the country, including much of east and southeast of England, will join tier 4 "stay at home" orders from Boxing Day, 26 December. The restrictions will be similar to those in place during lockdown, including closure of non-essential businesses, while people will only be allowed out to shop for food, exercise, and visit hospital. Those who can work remotely will also be made to do so. 

Hancock also said he was "delighted" to inform Britons that the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine had "submitted its full data package to the [Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency] for approval," with the process serving as "the next step toward a decision on the deployment of the vaccine, which is already being manufactured, including here in the UK."

The health secretary said he does not know how long a complete vaccination roll-out will take.

Despite its more contagious nature, medical professionals have indicated that the mutated coronavirus is not any more dangerous than the original virus.

MA/PR

News Code 167588

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