Britain’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock told MP’s that a new variant of coronavirus has been identified in England.
He said that covid-19 experts have claimed to have identified the new variant of which could be responsible for the “faster spread” of the virus across South England.
In a statement, Hancock said: “Over the last few days, thanks to our world-class genomic capability in the UK, we have identified a new variant of coronavirus which may be associated with the faster spread in the South of England.”
He also said it was highly unlikely a vaccine would not work against the new variant.
Herald Scotland reports: Matt Hancock said the numbers of the new variant of coronavirus “are increasing rapidly”.
He told the Commons: “Initial analysis suggests that this variant is growing faster than the existing variants.
“We’ve currently identified over 1,000 cases with this variant predominantly in the South of England although cases have been identified in nearly 60 different local authority areas.
“And numbers are increasing rapidly.”
Matt Hancock said: “I must stress at this point that there is currently nothing to suggest that this variant is more likely to cause serious disease and the latest clinical advice is that it’s highly unlikely that this mutation would fail to respond to a vaccine, but it shows we’ve got to be vigilant and follow the rules and everyone needs to take personal responsibility not to spread this virus.”
He added: “I need to tell the House that over the last week, we’ve seen very sharp, exponential rises in the virus across London, Kent, parts of Essex and Hertfordshire.
“We do not know the extent to which this is because of the new variant but no matter its cause we have to take swift and decisive action which unfortunately is absolutely essential to control this deadly disease while the vaccine is rolled out.”