The Ministry of Health calls an urgent meeting of the key group after a new strain of Covid-19 is found in the UK

The Union Health Department convened an urgent meeting of its Joint Monitoring Group (JMG) on Sunday after a new strain of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) emerged in the UK, PTI news agency reported.

PTI further reported that the JMG, chaired by the Director General for Health Services (DGHS), will hold a meeting on Monday morning to discuss the problem of the mutated variant of the coronavirus reported from the UK. The Indian representative of the WHO, Dr. Roderico H. Ofrin, who is also a member of the JMG, will likely attend the meeting.

According to the Ministry of Health website, the JMG was created to regularly review the global / Indian situation and provide recommendations to the Ministry on technical issues. It would also monitor the outbreak situation.

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock on Sunday voiced the prospect that London could be locked down for months as he warned that it will be “very difficult” to keep a virulent new strain of the coronavirus under control until vaccinations are introduced.

“It will be very difficult to keep it under control until we get the vaccine in place,” he said. “We know that this new variant will make it easier for you to intercept a smaller amount of the virus that is present.”

“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 said. “That is the fundamental problem.”

On Saturday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the new Level 4 Covid-19 restrictions for London and other parts of England to tackle an alarming surge in infections related to a new virulent strain.

“New variants can be up to 70 percent more transferable,” he said.

A number of European countries have banned flights from the UK when the UK government warned the strong new strain of the virus was “out of control” and imposed a tough new home ban starting Sunday.