WHO says new variant of Covid-19 virus in UK not out of control

22 December 2020 (Last Updated December 22nd, 2020 08:20)

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said that the new variant of Covid-19 virus discovered in the UK with a higher transmission rate is ‘not out of control’ and could be contained with the help of existing measures.

Earlier, British Health Secretary Matt Hancock had claimed that the variant was out of control, while officials said that it was 70% more transmissible than the main strain, AFP reported.

The new agency quoted WHO emergencies chief Michael Ryan as saying in a press conference: “We have had a much higher (contamination rate) at different points in this pandemic and we’ve got it under control.
“So this situation is not in that sense out of control. But it cannot be left to its own devices.”

Earlier this week, the UK found that the new variant identified through Public Health England’s genomic surveillance could spread faster.

WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a media briefing: “In the past few days, there have been reports of new variants of the Covid-19 virus in South Africa and the United Kingdom. Viruses mutate over time; that’s natural and expected.”

“WHO is working with scientists to understand how these genetic changes affect how the virus behaves.”