New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Amid the concerns regarding the new strain of COVID-19 found in the United Kingdom (UK), which spreads 70 per cent faster, a new, potentially more infectious variant of the deadly pathogen has been found in Britain in some cases linked to South Africa. The newly found variant has already been found a week ago in South Africa, where authorities have said that the new variant might be responsible for the recent surge in the country.

"Thanks to the impressive genomic capability of the South Africans, we've detected two cases of another new variant of coronavirus here in the UK," Mat Hancock, British Health Secretary said, as quoted by Reuters, adding, "Both are contacts of cases who have travelled from South Africa over the past few weeks."

The latest development came when Britain is trying to contain the spread of the mutated strain of the virus which is up to 70 per cent more transmissible. In wake of the new strain, the authorities in the UK have imposed fresh sets of restrictions across the country and further studies are being carried out to know more about the new strain.

"This new variant is highly concerning, because it is yet more transmissible, and it appears to have mutated further than the new variant has been discovered in the UK. Close contacts of those with the new variant and all those who have been in South Africa in the last fortnight, or were in close contact with someone who had, must quarantine", Hancock further said.

Hancock further said that the UK government has also imposed immediate restrictions on travel from South Africa in wake of the new strain. Countries around the world have in recent days closed their borders to both Britain and South Africa following the identification of the new, fast-spreading variants of the coronavirus.

"So the new variant in the UK, which we've identified, is very different from the variant in South Africa, it's got different mutations. Both of them look like they're more transmissible. We have more evidence on the transmission for the UK variant because we've been studying that with great detail with academic partners. We're still learning about the South African variant," Susan Hopkins from Public Health England said.

She expressed confidence that the spread of the South Africa-linked variant would be controlled and said vaccines that have already been developed should be effective.

"We have no evidence at the moment that the vaccine will not work, so actually what that means in fact is that there's strong evidence that it will work because the vaccine produces a strong immune response and it's broad and acts against lots of variation in the virus," she added.

Posted By: Talib Khan