The Union Health Ministry, alert over the spread of the mutant coronavirus strain in the UK, has called for an urgent meeting on Monday. The Joint Monitoring Group will discuss the emergence of the new strain that is touted to be up to 70 per cent more infectious. The JMG is chaired by the Director-General of Health Services (DGHS). WHO's India representative and member of the JMG Dr Roderico H Ofrin is also likely to be part of the meeting.
"The Joint Monitoring Group (JMG) chaired by the Director General of Health Services (DGHS) will hold a meeting on Monday morning to discuss the issue of the mutated variant of the coronavirus reported from the UK. WHO's India representative Dr Roderico H Ofrin, who is also a member of the JMG, is likely to participate in the meeting," a source told news agency PTI.
Reports of the mutant coronavirus strain have put countries on alert. Multiple European countries have already banned flights from the UK after the Boris Johnson-led government said that the new virus strain was 'out of control'. The country has put a new lockdown regime in place. London and Southern England is impacted by the mutant, fast-moving strain of coronavirus that is more than 70 per cent more transmissible than the existing strains.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged people to cancel their Christmas get-togethers. Most shops have had to close in London and Southern England. He also said that a planned easing of socialising rules that would have allowed up to three households to meet in 'Christmas bubbles' will be cancelled for stricter norms.
"We have alerted the World Health Organisation and are continuing to analyse the available data to improve our understanding. 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," said Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for England.