Health Department meeting today following the spread of the mutant strain of coronavirus on news from the UK and India

The Union Health Department called for an emergency meeting of its Joint Monitoring Group (JMG) on Monday morning after official reports said panic spread over a new mutant strain of coronavirus that is “out of control” in the UK.

The JMG meeting is chaired by the Director General for Health Services (DGHS). The Indian representative of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Roderico H. Ofrin, who is also a member of the JMG, is expected to attend the meeting, according to the PTI news agency.

Over 16 million Britons will have to stay home for Christmas after Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who until Friday was a firm believer that tight households could mingle during the holiday season, turned around and canceled plans for families to see others. When new restrictions came into effect in London after the government warned of the new burden, several EU states banned flights from the UK on Sunday.

While the Netherlands announced a ban on all British passenger flights, Belgium issued a flight ban for 24 hours and also stopped train connections to the UK.

France suspended all travel connections with the UK for 48 hours from midnight on Sunday and all flights out of the country have been banned in Ireland for a period of 48 hours. According to the BBC, Italy blocked all flights from the UK until January 6th. Germany, Kuwait, Israel and Austria have imposed similar restrictions.

Meanwhile, UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned that preventive measures could remain in place until the virus vaccine is fully implemented. “We acted very quickly and decisively,” he said. “With all the different measures we have taken, we need more to control the spread of the new variant than we need to control the spread of the old variant,” he added.

The JMG, set up by the government to review the global and Indian situation following the virus outbreak and provide recommendations to the Department of Health on technical issues, will discuss the issue of the mutated variant of the coronavirus reported from the UK.