The government is alert and there is no need to panic, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on 21 December after a new strain of coronavirus was detected in the United Kingdom. “The government is fully conscious of everything. If you ask me, there is no reason to panic the way we are seeing in this press conference,” the minister said.
“I would say this to all that all these imaginary situations, imaginary talks, imaginary panic… Don’t involve yourself in this,” Harsh Vardhan told reporters while responding to a question on the panic over the new strain and a demand to ban flights from the UK.
Harsh Vardhan said that the government had done everything that was important to handle the Covid-19 situation in the last one year.
Earlier in the day, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had urged the central government to ban flights from the United Kingdom.
“New mutation of corona virus (sic) has emerged in (the) UK, which is a super-spreader. I urge central govt to ban all flights from (the) UK immediately,” tweeted Kejriwal.
The United Kingdom announced a surprise lockdown on 19 December in London and parts of the country amid a surge in the cases of the coronavirus disease after the discovery of a new strain of the Sars-CoV-2 virus, which causes Covid-19. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that Christmas shopping and gatherings in southern England must be cancelled.
According to experts, the new strain could be up to 70% more infectious, prompting Britain’s European neighbours and several other countries to ban travellers from the country.
Several European Union nations and Canada have barred travel from the UK and others were considering similar action, in order to block the new strain of coronavirus which has been sweeping across southern England from spreading to the continent.
France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Ireland and Bulgaria all announced restrictions on UK travel.