Amid global fears regarding the discovery of a new highly transmissible coronavirus strain in the United Kingdom, NITI Aayog on Tuesday said the new mutant strain has not been detected in India so far. The Indian government think tank said that the virus is not affecting the severity of COVID-19.
"The new strain of COVID-19 in the United Kingdom has increased transmissibility. This mutation is not affecting the severity of the disease. Case fatality is not affected by this mutation," Dr VK Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog, said during a press conference.
Paul also added that the new strain detected in the United Kingdom "has not been seen in India, so far". He said that the authorities have studied 1,000 viruses to check mutations but have not found such structure in any of those in India.
Paul later added that there "is no cause for concern" and has requested the citizens to not panic over the mutation. "We need to stay vigilant," he stated.
When questioned over the effect of COVID-19 vaccines on the new mutant coronavirus strain, Paul replied, "As of now, it has no impact on the potential of the emerging vaccines being developed in our country and are available in other countries."
The discovery of the new strain of the coronavirus has caused a stir around the world with many countries banning all flights from the United Kingdom. India also announced a ban on all flights from the island nation on Monday.
The government also released SOPs to curb the spread of the new coronavirus strain in India. These guidelines include a declaration of 14 days of travel history of any traveller arriving from the UK. They also have to fill the self-declaration form for COVID-19 screening.