The mutated novel coronavirus strain found that reportedly emerged recently in the UK has so far only affected its rate of infection and appears to remain susceptible to the effects of vaccines, a senior Turkish medical scientist.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Mustafa Necmi Ilhan, a member of the Turkish Health Ministry’s Social Science Board, said Turkey had taken proper measures upon the outbreak of the mutated strain.

Noting that Turkey suspended flights from the UK, Denmark, the Netherlands, and South Africa, Ilhan said that taking and implementing decisions swiftly in the fight against the pandemic is important.

He also underlined that passengers from these countries are subjected to PCR tests and would stay under quarantine according to test results.

The mutation, which reports so far show increases infectiousness by up to 70%, has not impacted the virus’s ability to cause disease and hence would not undo the expected positive effects of the vaccines currently deployed.

“However, if it does or comes to affect its disease-causing abilities, then it could be necessary to re-examine the vaccines,” he added.

To contain the spread of the disease, Turkey has imposed nighttime and weekend curfews. It has also joined other countries in banning flights from the UK over the new virus strain said to be more transmissible.

Vaccinations for protection against COVID-19 have begun in the US, UK and other countries.

* Writing by Ahmet Gencturk

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