New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The national task force (NTF), formed by the Centre to contain coronavirus in India, has suggested that the country does not need to change its existing COVID-19 treatment protocols in wake of the new strain of the infection.

The NTF on Saturday held a meeting and discussed ways to detect and contain the new strain of coronavirus. The meeting was attended by NITI Aayog member Dr VK Paul, Director General of ICMR Dr Balram Bhargava and officials from the Health Ministry and AIIMS.

During the meeting, the NTF suggested that the new variant of the novel coronavirus can be controlled by practising social distancing and wearing masks.

"It is important to understand that like all other RNA viruses, SARS-CoV-2 will continue to mutate. The mutated virus can also be contained by measures like social distancing, hand hygiene, wearing masks and also by an effective vaccine, as and when available," it said in a statement, as reported by NDTV.

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The latest variant of coronavirus was detected in September this year in the United Kingdom (UK). In December, the UK reimposed a lockdown in London and nearby areas due to the new strain of coronavirus and warned that the situation is "out of control".

Following this, several countries -- including France, Germany and Saudi Arabia -- reimposed travel restrictions with the UK. Later, India also temporarily suspended all international flights from the UK and issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) for people returning from there.

So far, nearly 50 people, who returned from the UK have tested coronavirus positive. Currently, their samples have been sent to different labs across the country to find out if they are positive for the mutant strain of COVID-19.

"This variant is defined by a set of 17 changes or mutations. One of the most significant...changes...may result in the virus becoming more infectious and spreading more easily between people," the government had said earlier.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma