Nicola Sturgeon says new variant of coronavirus is 'clearly a potentially concerning development'

The First Minister took to Twitter this afternoon in response to Health Secretary Matt Hancock announcing that a new variant of Covid-19 has been found in parts of the UK.

Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “This is clearly a potentially concerning development. Our CMO ⁦@DrGregorSmith⁩ has given me an initial briefing this afternoon and @scotgov ⁩will be monitoring closely.

"We will also consider whether any additional precautions are required meantime.”

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He told the Commons today: “Initial analysis suggests that this variant is growing faster than the existing variants.

“We’ve currently identified over 1,000 cases with this variant predominantly in the South of England although cases have been identified in nearly 60 different local authority areas.”

Mr Hancock continued: “I must stress at this point that there is currently nothing to suggest that this variant is more likely to cause serious disease and the latest clinical advice is

that it’s highly unlikely that this mutation would fail to respond to a vaccine, but it shows we’ve got to be vigilant and follow the rules and everyone needs to take personal responsibility not to spread this virus.”

Nicola Sturgeon says new variant of coronavirus is 'clearly a potentially concerning development'
Nicola Sturgeon says new variant of coronavirus is 'clearly a potentially concerning development'

He said that in the last week they have seen a sharp increase in the virus across London, Kent and parts and Essex and Hertfordshire, adding: “We do not know the extent to which this is because of the new variant but no matter its cause we have to take swift and decisive action which unfortunately is absolutely essential to control this deadly disease while the vaccine is rolled out.”

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