The Union Health Ministry has called an urgent meeting on Monday to discuss the emergence of a mutated variant of the coronavirus in the United Kingdom (UK), which has been identified to be up to 70% more infectious. The Joint Monitoring Group will be chaired by the Director-General of Health Services (DGHS). Also, the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) India representative Dr Roderico H Ofrin, also a member of the JMG, is likely to participate in the meeting. The Joint Monitoring Group was formed by the government to review the global and Indian situation after the outbreak of coronavirus and provide recommendations on technical matters to the health ministry. Today it will discuss the issue of the mutated variant of the coronavirus reported from the UK.
As in the wake of a new threat, several European nations have banned flights to and from Britain to prevent the spread of the new strain of the coronavirus. Germany, Netherlands and Belgium have suspended flights, and Belgium has stopped trains from the UK as well. France has banned all travel from the United Kingdom for 48 hours from Monday and Italy blocked all flights from the UK till January 6. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia suspended all international passenger flights temporarily for citizens and residents over fears about the fast-spreading new variant of the coronavirus. Whereas, till now no policy decision has been taken by India on any flight ban from the UK. Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has urged the Central Government to ban all flights from the United Kingdom because of mutant Covid-19 strain.
The U.K. Health Secretary Matt Hancock has warned that the new strain of the coronavirus is “out of control” and a stringent new stay-at-home lockdown has been imposed from Sunday and will remain until a vaccine is rolled out. the highest level of the UK government’s three-tiered coronavirus alert system will move into a new Tier 4. In which all non-essential shops, hairdressers and indoor leisure venues will remain close.
UK PM Johnson said that a planned easing of socialising rules that would have allowed up to three households to meet in “Christmas bubbles” from December 23 to December 27 will have to be cancelled for Tier 4 areas and will sharply be implemented in the rest of England. The mutation of the coronavirus is worrying scientists as drug firms are still in their early stages of rolling out vaccines. Although experts believe that the vaccines that have been rolled out will be effective against the new strain, still it is a new worry for scientists and people across the globe.