New Delhi | Jagra News Desk: With countries closing borders with the United Kingdom (UK) over the new strain of COVID-19 infection, experts have warned that this new variant is 56 per cent more contagious than the original version.

In a study conducted at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the experts have claimed that the new strain of coronavirus can cause more deaths in the UK and said that a lockdown is unlikely to contain the infection till "schools and universities are closed".

"Nevertheless, the increase in transmissibility is likely to lead to a large increase in incidence, with COVID-19 hospitalisations and deaths projected to reach higher levels in 2021 than were observed in 2020, even if regional tiered restrictions implemented before 19 December are maintained," the experts were quoted by AFP as saying.

The experts said that easing of control measures will prompt "a large resurgence of the virus" which means that "it may be necessary to greatly accelerate vaccine roll-out to have an appreciable impact in suppressing the resulting disease burden".

The new strain of COVID-19 was discovered in southeast England in November this year following which British Prime Minister Boris Johnson reimposed restrictions in London and nearby areas.

Several other countries, including India, also reimposed travel restrictions and temporarily suspended also flights from the UK. The government also issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) for travellers coming from the UK and made it compulsory for them to serve a quarantine of 14 days.

"As of now, based on our discussions, deep understanding of data available and our deep assessment, there is no need to panic but it is a cause to be more vigilant. This new challenge we have to counter with our comprehensive efforts. We will be safe if we suppress the genomic sequence," the government has said.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma