WHO calls on states to stop spread of mutated coronavirus strain
- 21 December 2020
The World Health Organization (WHO) has called on states to take all possible measures to slow and then stop the spread of new, mutated types of the novel coronavirus detected in the UK and South Africa, WHO Spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic informed TASS on Monday, APA reports citing TASS.
When asked about the WHO’s stance on temporary bans on air travel to and from the UK and South Africa, introduced by a number of states, including Switzerland, Yasarevic said: "Decisions for travel restrictions are national decisions. WHO recommends taking a risk based approach."
"WHO is in close contact with health officials and scientists in the UK and South Africa about changes they have identified in the virus. Analysis is ongoing to determine if these new variants pass between people more easily, cause more severe disease, or can have an impact on how tests or vaccines work," he added.
On December 14, Britain’s Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, said British scientists had identified a new coronavirus strain that might be to blame for high infection rates in southeastern England. Hancock said preliminary analysis indicated that the newly-discovered virus strain was spreading faster than any of those exposed previously. Prime Minister Boris Johnson told an urgent news conference on Saturday that according to the current findings the new strain might be 70% more contagious. He added that British experts had not yet found any proof that the mutated virus was fraught with a greater risk of lethal outcome.