The World Health Organization cautioned against major alarm over a new, highly infectious variant of COVID-19 that has emerged in Britain, saying this is a normal part of a pandemic’s evolution.
WHO officials even put a positive light on the new strains’ discovery that prompted a slew of alarmed countries to impose travel restrictions on Britain and South Africa, saying new tools to track the virus were working.
WHO emergencies chief Mike Ryan said, “We have to find a balance. It’s very important to have transparency, it’s very important to tell the public the way it is, but it’s also important to get across that this is a normal part of virus evolution.”
Citing data from Britain, WHO officials said they had no evidence the variant made people sicker or was more deadly than existing strains of COVID-19, although it did seem to spread more easily.
Ryan added countries imposing travel curbs were acting out of an abundance of caution while they assess risks.