ANKARA

The severity of the new COVID-19 variant that discovered in the UK is not clear yet, said the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) Europe.

“We are closely monitoring reports of a growing #COVID19 variant VUI – 202012/01. Here’s what we know: Appears to spread more easily, Severity not yet clear, increased preventive measures are critical,” Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, said on Twitter.

WHO Europe will convene member states to discuss strategies for testing, reducing transmission, and communicating risks.

“Limiting travel to contain spread is prudent until we have better info. Supply chains for essential goods & essential travel should remain possible,” said Kluge.

He also welcomed the UK’s cooperation for sharing data and intensifying investigation.

“Reaffirming our commitment to #solidarity in the face of new #COVID19 challenges yet again. No one is safe until everyone is safe,” he said.​​​​​​​

Around 40 countries have banned flights from the UK because of the new variant, which is thought to be spreading 70% faster. France also closed the Channel crossing of freight lorries. Hundreds of lorries have been waiting on both sides of the border with the UK for the past two days.

The UK and French officials are in talks to lift the ban on freight vehicles.

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