“Government Alert, No Need To Panic”: Health Minister On UK Virus Strain

The government is fully alert about the new strain of coronavirus reported in the United Kingdom, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said today, stressing “there’s no need to panic”. Canada, Saudi Arabia, and several European countries have temporarily banned flights from the UK over the new virus strain, believed to be 70 per cent more infectious.”At this time, I would say, don’t get hassled with imaginary situations, imaginary talks and imaginary panic. The government is fully alert. In the last one year, as you all have seen, we took all necessary measures to ensure the safety of people. If you ask me, there’s no reason to panic so much,” the Health Minister told reporters this afternoon at the India Science Festival. He was replying to a question if India is planning to impose a UK travel ban.The Health Ministry also held a meeting today of its joint monitoring group to discuss the mutant coronavirus.Dr Harsh Vardhan’s remarks came shortly after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal urged the government in a tweet: “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.”The mutant virus was first detected in southeast England in September. It is quickly becoming the dominant strain in London and other parts of the UK, and has led to surging infection numbers and fresh restrictions, casting a cloud on Christmas celebrations.On Sunday, British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said “the new variant is out of control”. However, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “there’s no evidence it causes more severe illness”.Outside Britain, Italy has reported a patient, who had recently returned from the UK, infected with the mutant virus.The new strain has worried health experts at a time when several nations, including the UK and the United States, had cleared Covid vaccines to boost their fight amid pandemic. 
European Union experts believe existing vaccines against coronavirus are effective against the new fast-spreading strain identified in Britain, Germany’s Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Sunday, news agency AFP reported.
India’s coronavirus cases passed the 1-crore mark on Saturday; 24,337 new cases in the last 24 hours took the tally to 1,00,55,560, the government data showed this morning. Over 1.45 lakh people have died so far.

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