In a briefing on December 21, the WHO stated that the new variant of the novel coronavirus detected across the UK that has spread to South Africa is not seemingly ‘out of control’. WHO’s emergency chief Michael Ryan said at a live-streamed conference that several mutated strains of the coronavirus with a transmission rate higher than typical SARS-CoV-2 were detected at different stages of the pandemic that were brought under control. Subsequently, the WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stressed that the viruses mutate over time, and that’s “natural and expected.”
However, Tedros warned that the countries needed to suppress transmission of all SARS-CoV-2 viruses “as quickly as they can”. WHO’s emergencies chief added, even if there was no evidence that the new variant caused severe disease or mortality and it wasn’t in the sense out of control, it cannot be “left to its own devices.” The WHO said that it was in constant touch with the global experts and scientists to understand how the genetic changes of coronavirus affect the virus strain’s behaviour. Although, the organization warned that the more new variant was allowed to spread, the more opportunity it had to ‘mutate’ into something deadlier. “I can’t stress enough, to all governments and all people, how important it is to take the necessary precautions to limit this transmission,” the WHO chief said.