The World Health Organization (WHO) is calling on its European members to strengthen measures against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the continent as a new strain or variant of the virus that spreads faster was discovered in the United Kingdom.
Also, outside UK, nine cases of the new strain have been reported in Denmark, as well as one case in the Netherlands and another in Australia, the WHO said.
“Across Europe, where transmission is intense and widespread, countries need to redouble their control and prevention approaches,” a spokesperson for WHO Europe said.
UK had already put tighter Covid-19 restrictions in place this weekend after scientists advised Prime Minister Boris Johnson that a new strain of the virus is spreading more quickly.
Johnson said he “bitterly regretted” instituting the restrictions, under which non-essential shops, gyms, movie theaters, salons and bowling alleys will close for two weeks.
Chris Whitty, Britain’s chief medical officer, said on Saturday that British health officials have informed the WHO about the new strain of the virus, which health officials earlier announced publicly.
“As announced on Monday, the UK has identified a new variant of Covid-19 through Public Health England’s genomic surveillance,” Whitty said. SOVEREIGNPH