After a new variant of the coronavirus was found in the United Kingdom, the Union Health Ministry has called an urgent meeting of its Joint Monitoring Group on Monday. The new variant has led to a surge in the rate of infection there. The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) will chair the meeting to discuss the mutant strain of Covid-19 reported from the UK.

The World Health Organisation representatives are likely to attend the meeting, said the official. “The Joint Monitoring Group (JMG) chaired by the Director General of Health Services (DGHS) will hold a meeting on Monday morning to discuss the issue of the mutated variant of the coronavirus reported from the UK. WHO's India representative Dr Roderico H Ofrin, who is also a member of the JMG, is likely to participate in the meeting,” a source told PTI.

The emergence of the new strain that is touted to be up to 70% more infectious will be discussed by the Joint Monitoring Group which is chaired by the Director-General of Health Services (DGHS).

The UK imposed a stringent new stay-at-home lockdown from Sunday, closing non-essential shops and businesses following a spike in the infection rate caused by the new variant of the coronavirus. After the Boris Johnson-led government said that the new virus strain was 'out of control', multiple European countries including Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and Italy have already banned flights from the UK.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged people to cancel their Christmas get-togethers. Most shops have had to close in London and Southern England. He also said that a planned easing of socialising rules that would have allowed up to three households to meet in 'Christmas bubbles' will be cancelled for stricter norms.