Government is alert, no need to panic: Harsh Vardhan on discovery of new coronavirus strain in UK
New Delhi, Dec 21: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Monday said that the government is alert and no one should panic in regard to the new discovery of coronavirus strain in UK.
Speaking on the issue of new coronavirus strain in UK, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has said that scientists are closely keeping an eye on each development. He added that people should not create panic over the issue.
"Don't create panic over imaginary situations and descriptions. I don't think, the situation is such to create a panic here, but let me tell you that our scientists are closely keeping eye on every development," he said.
He also said, "The fight against the coronavirus pandemic is an example of India's self-reliance. He also praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his leadership during the pandemic. "India is in top 10 positions in most indicators because of the vision of Prime Minister Modi,'' he further said.
Meanwhile, the Union Health Ministry has called an urgent meeting of its Joint Monitoring Group on Monday to discuss the emergence of a mutated variant of the coronavirus in the United Kingdom (UK), which has been identified to be up to 70 per cent more infectious.
A surge in the infection rate caused by the new variant of the coronavirus has led to millions entering a stringent new stay-at-home lockdown in the UK from Sunday, with non-essential shops and businesses now closed.
British health secretary Matt Hancock on Sunday raised the prospect that London could be under lockdown for months as he has warned it will be "very difficult" to keep a virulent new strain of the coronavirus under control until vaccinations are rolled out.
A number of European countries have banned flights from the UK as the British government warned that the potent new strain of the virus was "out of control" and imposed a stringent new stay-at-home lockdown from Sunday.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the new rules at a briefing from 10 Downing Street on Saturday evening, which means a planned five-day "Christmas bubble" of relaxed rules has been cancelled in favour of a new Tier 4 level to the current three-tier lockdown system to try and control the surge in infections being caused by the new mutation of the deadly virus.
"It seems that the spread is now being driven by the new variant of the virus," Johnson said.
"We have alerted the World Health Organisation and are continuing to analyse the available data to improve our understanding," said Professor Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer for England.
"There is no current evidence to suggest the new strain causes a higher mortality rate or that it affects vaccines and treatments although urgent work is underway to confirm this," he said.