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New coronavirus variant discovered in England

Credit: Belga

A new coronavirus variant has been discovered in England, British Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Parliament on Monday.

The variant may be behind the virus’ faster spread in the south-east of England, Hancock said.

More than a thousand cases have been confirmed with the new variant in nearly 60 different areas, “and numbers are increasing rapidly,” according to Hancock.

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However, “there is currently nothing to suggest that this variant is more likely to cause serious disease,” he added, “and the latest clinical advice is that it’s highly unlikely that this mutation would fail to respond to a vaccine.”

The UK started vaccinating its population against Covid-19 on 8 December after the country’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) gave the green light for the Pfizer – BioNTech vaccine against coronavirus less than a week before.

As the Netherlands and Germany prepare for new lockdowns, restrictions are also being tightened in parts of England, with London as well as parts of Hartfordshire and Essex moving to Tier 3 restrictions, meaning these places are on very high alert.

Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times