Health Secretary Matt Hancock (pictured above) made the announcement during Parliament but followed up by saying there was no evidence the virus caused a worse disease or would render a vaccine moot.
“We’ve currently identified over 1,000 cases with this variant predominantly in the South of England although cases have been identified in nearly 60 different local authority areas,” he said.
Dr Jeremy Farrar, Director of UK-based research charity Wellcome, said the new variant had the potential to be very serious if left unchecked.
England’s Chief Medical Officer Prof Chris Whitty confirmed however the current COVID-19 testing would be able to detect the new virus.
Currently, the UK is recording up to 20,000 COVID-19 cases a day with a total of 1.869 million cases since the start of the pandemic and 73,125 deaths.
Meanwhile in Australia, the run of no community transmission has continued.
However, NSW recorded five cases and Queensland one in hotel quarantine on Tuesday. Victoria and SA both had zero cases among international travellers.