New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Monday said that the central government is aware of the new strain of COVID-19 reported in the United Kingdom (UK) and urged people "not to panic".

"The government is alert. There is no need to panic," the Health Minister said at a press conference on Monday.

Dr Harsh Vardhan's statement comes just moments after Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo asked the Centre to immediately ban all flights from the UK due to the new variant of coronavirus.

"New mutation of corona virus has emerged in UK, which is a super-spreader. I urge central government to ban all flights from UK immediately," Kejriwal said in a tweet on Monday.

Also Read -- Explained: 'Out of control' new strain of COVID-19 reported in UK | What it is and will vaccines work against it?

Meanwhile, the Union Health Ministy will hold a high-level meeting on Monday to discuss the new strain of coronavirus. It is expected that the World Health Organisation (WHO) officials will also be present at the meeting.

The government had on Saturday also informed that India has not reported a "major change or mutation" in the COVID strain yet but it is analysing the situation and will take steps accordingly.

What is this new strain of coronavirus?

The UK had recently reported a new strain of coronavirus and claimed that it spreads 70 per cent faster than other variants of the infection, following which it imposed a lockdown in London and other nearby areas.

Though the new strain of COVID-19 is more infectious, experts have suggested that there is no data to prove that this new variant of will be deadlier than other strains of the virus.

Also Read -- Coronavirus Vaccination: India may start vaccinating people against COVID-19 in January, says Health Minister

Experts also suggest that a vaccine against it will likely work and there is no need to panic as of now. "So there is every reason to think that the vaccines will still work against this new strain, though obviously, that needs to be tested thoroughly," The Guardian quoted an expert as saying.

Meanwhile, several countries -- Canada, Austria, Belgium, Italy, Ireland, Germany, France, Turkey, Israel and the Netherlands -- have restricted flights from the UK till further notice due to the new strain of coronavirus.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma