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In full: Sajid Javid says there are no UK cases of new Covid variant

Telegraph, 26 Nov 2021
Sajid Javid confirmed there have been no cases of the new Covid variant detected in the UK.

The Health Secretary, speaking during an address to the Commons, said: "Over the past 48 hours a small number of cases of a new variant have been detected on our international genomic database.

"I want to reassure this House that there are no detected cases of this variant in the UK at this time, but this new variant is of huge international concern.

"The World Health Organization has called a special meeting this morning and that meeting is taking place right now."

Mr Javid added that the variant, first detected in South Africa, "may pose substantial risk to public health" as it could be "more transmissible than the delta variant" and could have the potential to evade current vaccines.

He said: "We are concerned that this new variant may pose substantial risk to public health. The variant has an unusually large number of mutations, yesterday the UK health security agency classified B.1.1.529 as a new variant under investigation."

Cases of the variant have now been detected in Hong Kong, South Africa and Botswana, with Javid saying it is likely it has now spread to other countries.

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