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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - LONDON — The new COVID-19 variant first detected in the United Kingdom may be more lethal than previous strains, according to the country's Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
"We've been informed that in addition to spreading more quickly... there is some evidence that the new variant... may be more associated with a higher degree of mortality," Johnson said at a news conference on Friday.
"Both the vaccines we're currently using remain effective both against the old variant and this new variant," he added.
The UK's chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance, elaborated on the evidence.
Vallance said patients who were hospitalized with the new variant did not appear to have a higher risk of dying compared to those hospitalized with the original form of the virus.
"However, when data are looked at in terms of... anyone who has tested positive there is evidence that there is an increased risk for those who have the new variant compared to the old (one.)"
Vallance added that the evidence was not yet strong and that the data remained uncertain.
The UK recorded a further 1,401 coronavirus-related deaths over the past 24 hours, government data showed on Friday — up from Thursday's daily increase of 1,290 deaths.
The total number of people in the country who have died within 28 days of a positive test now stands at 95,981.
The number of new Covid-19 infections registered in the UK over the last 24 hours is also up on Thursday's figure. A total of 40,261 additional cases have been confirmed, bringing the total number of cases recorded in the UK since the pandemic began to 3,583,907.
Public Health England has continued to call for citizens to adhere to government guidance, warning once again on Friday that "not everyone with coronavirus shows symptoms" and urging for people to stay at home. — Courtesy CNN
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