According to Russia Television (RT) today, after confirming that the level of COVID-19 prevention in London will rise to the highest level, the British government said that a new variant of the novel coronavirus strain has been found, which spreads faster.
The total number of cases infected with the mutant virus has been found in nearly 60 different regions of the UK. There are more than 1,000 cases.
The new mutant virus has been found in the southeast of England, the UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed Monday. He said that scientists at Porton Down, the secret British military and public health research institute, have been analyzing the new virus.
“Preliminary analysis suggests that this mutant virus is growing faster than the existing mutant virus,” Hancock told MPs in the House of Commons.
He added that confirmed cases of the new mutant virus have been found in nearly 60 different administrative regions and 1,000 cases have been recorded, mainly in “Southern England”.
At a press conference late Monday, Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer of the United Kingdom, said that there was no evidence that the symptoms of patients infected with the new mutant virus would worsen or differ.
Hancock linked the mutant virus to the rapid spread of COVID-19 in southern England, but he pointed out that scientists could not determine whether the mutation was the cause of the recent surge in cases in London.
Hancock added: “I must emphasize that there is currently no evidence at this point that this mutant virus is more likely to cause serious diseases. The latest clinical advice is that this mutation is unlikely to cause the vaccine to not work.”
Hancock also confirmed that from 12:01 a.m. local time on Wednesday, London will enter the highest level of COVID-19 level 3 control, forcing restaurants and bars to close.
Schools are also advised to close, though no request, because of concerns that the virus will spread among younger students.
The World Health Organization has reportedly learned about the new mutant virus. On Monday, Dr. Michael Ryan of the WHO confirmed that the WHO “knowledg of the mutation” and explained that the mutation of the virus was “quite common”.
Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove of WHO added that the variation Hancock found was the “N501Y” mutation, which scientists have studied since the first few months of the pandemic. “This has been monitored by our team on the evolution of the virus, and the mutation is in the context of the variant of the COVID-19 found elsewhere in Mink,” she said.
The Netherlands, the United States and Denmark have reportedly reported mutations of the novel coronavirus infected by mink, and the Danish government ordered the killing of 17 million minks in November.