WHO, Kathmandu reject reports of new ‘Nepal’ variant of coronavirus

Kathmandu, Jun 3 (EFE).- The World Health Organization and Nepal on Thursday denied the existence of a new strain of the coronavirus originating in the Himalayan country after British newspaper Daily Mail published an article about a “Nepal Variant” of the virus spreading to Europe.

“We don’t know what ‘Nepal variant’. We, so far, have not detected such a Nepal variant of the coronavirus,” Nepali health ministry spokesperson Krishna Prasad Paudel told EFE.

The statement was backed by the WHO, which also denied knowledge of such a strain.

“WHO is not aware of any new variant of SARS-CoV-2 being detected in Nepal,” the organization tweeted, listing the three strains currently in circulation in the country – Alpha, Delta and Kappa – which had first appeared elsewhere.

In a statement, the Nepali health ministry issued an appeal to not spread news which had not been verified first, especially on matters directly related to public health.

The reactions come a day after British newspaper Daily Mail published a report that said a number of ministers in the United Kingdom had warned of a new variant of the virus “thought to have originated in Nepal,” which had already spread to Europe and was resistant to current anti-Covid vaccines.

On Thursday, the British Tabloid published a follow-up article, which claimed that more than 20 cases of this new strain had been detected in the UK, and it was a mutated version of the Delta strain.

Although the veracity of the information has been questioned on social media – especially by Nepali users – the Daily Mail said that the variant could affect the possibility of the UK adding Nepal to the “green list” of countries for travelers during the upcoming holiday season.

Nepal is currently placed on the red list of the UK government due to an ongoing Covid surge in the Himalayan nation, although infections have begun to drop in recent days. EFE


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