London: The new strain of Coronavirus infection that has surfaced in the United Kingdom could spread faster, news agency AFP quoted England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty as saying. Whitty also pointed out that this strain may need a greater vigilance to reduce transmission. The World Health Organisation has also been informed of the findings. Also Read - This Country Has Imposed First COVID-19 Lockdown, 10,000 to Undergo Mandatory Testing

Notably, this news comes at a time when Britain has seen a rise in its Coronavirus caseload. The country has also reported an increase in hospital admissions this month. Ahead of Christmas, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced ‘stay at home’ order for London and south-eastern England from Sunday until December 30. Also Read - Over 150 National Guard Troops Deployed For Biden's Inauguration Test Positive For Coronavirus

“As a result of the rapid spread of the new variant, preliminary modelling data and rapidly rising incidence rates in the South East (an expert body advising the government) now consider that the new strain can spread more quickly,” AFP quoted Whitty as saying. Also Read - Can an Individual Get Two Different Doses of Coronavirus Vaccine?

“We have alerted the World Health Organization. There is no current evidence to suggest the new strain causes a higher mortality rate or that it affects vaccines and treatments although urgent work is underway to confirm this,” he added.

Meanwhile, another 28,507 people in Britain tested positive for Covid-19, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 1,977,167, according to official figures released on Friday. The coronavirus-related deaths in Britain rose by 489 to 66,541, the data showed.

Britain’s coronavirus reproduction number, also known as the R number, has risen to 1.1 to 1.2, up from between 0.9 and 1.0 last week, according to the British government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) on Friday.