'New variant' of coronavirus discovered in United Kingdom
Do not panic
A new strain of coronavirus has been identified in the UK, health secretary Matt Hancock has said.
The new strain is spreading rapidly throughout the south-east of England, with over a thousand cases.
60 local authority areas have reportedly seen the new strain of the virus.
However, Hancock told MPs in the Commons there is currently "nothing to suggest" it will cause serious damage and that it is "highly unlikely" that the new strain will not respond to the newly approved vaccine.
"Initial analysis suggests that this variant is growing faster than the existing variants.”
Matt Hancock places parts of the South of England into tier 3, following identification of a new variant of coronavirus. pic.twitter.com/UwwHuSkX8A
— PoliticsJOE (@PoliticsJOE_UK) December 14, 2020
The Pzifer/BioNTech vaccine was rolled out last week, with 90-year-old Margaret Keenan becoming the first person in the world to take it.
She said: “I feel so privileged to be the first person vaccinated against COVID-19, it’s the best early birthday present I could wish for because it means I can finally look forward to spending time with my family and friends in the New Year after being on my own for most of the year.
“I can’t thank May and the NHS staff enough who have looked after me tremendously, and my advice to anyone offered the vaccine is to take it – if I can have it at 90, then you can have it too!”