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Responding to the announcement by the Health Secretary Matt Hancock that a new variant of Coronavirus associated with faster transmission of the virus has been identified in England, DUP South Antrim and Vice-Chair of the Health Committee Pam Cameron said:

“After the launch of the vaccine and resulting optimism in the response to Covid-19, the emergence of this new strain is a worrying development. It is key that officials work to establish the impact it could have on the symptoms, severity and speed of spread of the virus in Northern Ireland.

Whilst there's nothing to suggest that a variant will make the vaccine less effective, it will take time to gain a fuller picture of how this mutation of Coronavirus will affect the local public health response.

I welcome the Minister’s commitment to keep the Northern Ireland Assembly updated as more information becomes available. I would encourage him to keep in regular contact with counterparts in the rest of the UK. It is crucial that communities in Northern Ireland are able to benefit from early studies of this new strain of Coronavirus.”