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A new variant of Coronavirus has been found in Britain.

Along with the UK, the same mutation of the COVID-19 virus has also been detected in the Netherlands, Denmark and Australia.

Along with the UK, the same mutation of the COVID-19 virus has also been detected in the Netherlands, Denmark and Australia.Scientists across the South East of England identified a new variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2). According to the government, it was identified due to Public Health England’s (PHE) monitoring following the increase in cases in Kent and London. It was first detected in September, and in November, around a quarter of cases in London were from the new variant. By December, nearly two-thirds of cases were due to the new variant, reported BBC.

On December 19, 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, during a press conference, said that ‘a new variant of the virus was spreading more rapidly in London, the South East, and the East of England. He said that the advisory group on New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats – NERVTAG – has spent the last few days analyzing the new variant. There is no evidence that the variant causes more severe illness higher mortality; however, it does appear to spread more rapidly.

According to Johnson, NERVTAG’s early analysis suggests that the new variant could increase R by 0.4 or greater. Although there is considerable uncertainty, it is believed that the virus is 70 percent more transmissible than the old variant.

Data from Nextstrain, which has been monitoring the genetic codes of the viral samples around the world, suggest cases in Denmark and Australia have come from the UK. The Netherlands has also reported cases.

Peter Horby, a professor of emerging infectious diseases at Oxford University and chair of NERVTAG, said that the variant has a high advantage of transmission than the old variant present in Britain. Neil Ferguson, a member of NERVTAG, said that the new variant mostly infects children. However, according to a report by BBC News, there is no clear evidence showing that the new variant can transmit more easily, cause more serious symptoms, or render the vaccine useless. There is currently a lot of uncertainty around the new strain.

Following the emergence of the new strain of the virus, several countries, including India, discontinued flights to and from London until the end of 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19 including symptoms, prevention and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organisation or your national healthcare authority.

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