A pedestrian wearing a face mask or covering due to the COVID-19 pandemic is walking in central London on December 23, 2020.
Tolga Akmen | AFP | Getty Images
WASHINGTON – A second new and potentially more infectious variant of the novel coronavirus identified in South Africa has emerged in the UK, the UK government confirmed on Wednesday.
“Thanks to the impressive genomic skills of South Africans, we have discovered two cases of yet another new variant of the coronavirus here in the UK,” UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock told reporters on Wednesday.
“This new variant is very worrying as it is even more transmissible and appears to have mutated further when the new variant was discovered in the UK,” he said.
Last week, South Africa announced the discovery of a new genetic mutation in the disease. Shortly after his identification, countries around the world began to close their borders with South Africa.
The latest discovery comes as nations pulled up their drawbridges after scientists in the UK discovered a new variant of the virus. While much unknown is known about the new strain, it is believed that it mutated as early as September.
The discovery triggered a steady drumbeat of border closings in neighboring European countries such as Ireland, Germany, Belgium and France, as well as in countries outside the continent.
The UK also imposed tough measures to curb the spread of the mutated strain of the virus, which is believed to be up to 70% more transmissible.
According to the World Health Organization, the new variant has so far been identified in Denmark, the Netherlands. Northern Ireland and Australia.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Tuesday that the new strain of coronavirus was first detected in the UK could circulate in the US without notice. The coronavirus vaccine zone of President Donald Trump, Dr. Moncef Slaoui said Monday the Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 shots should be effective against the new burden.
The new variants from South Africa and Great Britain have not yet been identified in the USA.
Follow CNBC’s live blog for the latest news on the Coronavirus outbreak.