New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Union Health Ministry has called an urgent high-level meeting on Monday to discuss the new coronavirus strain rapidly spreading across the United Kingdom. Chaired by the Joint Monitoring Group, the meeting will likely have representatives of the World Health Organisation in attendence, a senior government official told news agency ANI.

A new, more infectious strain of virus is raging in parts of Britain, prompting Prime Minister Boris Johnson to announce a "stay at home" order for London and southeast England. The development has forced several European countries to ban flights from the UK.

"As far as India is concerned, there is no major change or mutation in the Covid strain yet. We are studying strains of coronavirus very closely in our country. But yes, we also keep a track of whatever is happening in the world related to the variants of COVID-19 strain," the senior government official said. 

The new virus is 70 per cent more transmissible than the original, the British PM said, as he reversed plans to ease curbs over Christmas. Johnson and his scientific advisors believe vaccine currenly under deveopment across the world will be effective and that the new strain is neither more deadly not serious in terms of illness caused, according to a report by Reuters. 

"It is with a very heavy heart I must tell you we cannot continue with Christmas as planned," Johnson told a news conference. "I sincerely believe there is no alternative open to me."

COVID-19 has affected 2 million people in the UK, while over 67,000 people have lost their lives to the infection. Worldwide, the virus has infected 76 million ppeople and claimed 1.6 million lives. India is the second-worst COVID-19 affected country in the world after the United States, with 10 million cases reported so far. 

Posted By: Lakshay Raja