Russia on Monday extended the suspension of air traffic with the UK till Jan.12, as a new coronavirus variant said to be more contagious spreads across the world.

The decision has been taken “to ensure the protection of public health,” according to the country’s virus task force.

On Dec. 22, Russian authorities had suspended flights to and from the UK, where the new strain was first detected, for a week.

Several other countries have taken similar measures. However, there is yet no evidence that suggests the mutation is more deadly.

More than 80.90 million COVID-19 cases, including 1.76 million deaths, have been recorded worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

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