The Prime Minister of UK, Boris Johnson, summoned the ministers to an emergency meeting for discussing a mysterious new strain of the novel coronavirus or COVID-19 prevalent in London and major parts of Southern England, as per reports. In the meeting, Johnson was given alarming new evidence about the mutant strain of coronavirus.
The chance of introducing stricter lockdown restrictions as soon as Saturday was also discussed, as per The Telegraph. The prime minister is said to be mulling a travel ban on journeys in and out of the capital London for stopping the spread of the strain, as reported by the Mirror.
It is believed that the decision has not been made till now. The strain that is referred to by the scientists as 'VUI- 202012/01', is believed to be the reason behind the faster spread of the coronavirus in parts of the South East of England. In Kent, the number of patients in hospital with the coronavirus is more than during the earlier peak in the Spring. London also witnessing a rise was placed into the 'Tier 3' restrictions this week.
COVID-19 in UK
Researchers believe the variant to be more infectious than the original strain of the virus. An official of the government told The Guardian, "There are concerns that it is more transmissible than the existing strain - and that sense is hardening."
On Monday, the Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the Commons, "Initial analysis suggests this variant is growing faster than the existing variants." Hancock also gave an explanation that the World Health Organization had been notified regarding the mutant strain. Around 60 different local authorities have witnessed infections from this variant and scientists are currently investigating it in detail, as per BBC.
Discussion regarding introducing tougher restrictions comes just days before the UK is expected to ease the rules for the Christmas period. Between 23 and 27 December, people all over the UK are given permission to form 'Christmas bubbles' with three households allowed to meet.
Researchers have given a warning against the Christmas relaxation and have suggested that they can lead to a nationwide lockdown in January and February. Johnson refused to rule out a probable third lockdown for England.