"We’re in close contact with UK officials on the new #COVID19 virus variant. They’ll continue to share info & results of their analysis & ongoing studies. We’ll update Member States & public as we learn more about the characteristics of this virus variant & any implications," the WHO said on Twitter.
The organization urged people to comply with local coronavirus guidance and take protective measures.
On Saturday, UK health officials announced that the country had identified a new variant of COVID-19, that is virtually unique to the United Kingdom, and can spread more quickly than earlier coronavirus strains.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has introduced fresh coronavirus restrictions, particularly in London and southeast England, to try to prevent the new virus strain from spreading across the country.
On Friday, Maria Van Kerkhove, the COVID-19 technical lead for the WHO, said that countries must take steps to control the spread of COVID-19 at this time, in particular to prevent the virus from having further opportunities to mutate, following recent discoveries of new variants of the disease in Denmark, the United Kingdom, and South Africa.
WHO officials, including Van Kerkhove, said earlier this month that there was no evidence at present to suggest that the discovery and spread of new COVID-19 variants would impact the safety or efficacy of vaccines against the disease.