LONDON, Dec. 20 (CNA) - The World Health Organization said on Saturday (Dec 19) it was in close contact with UK officials over a new COVID-19 virus variant.

"They'll (UK officials) 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", WHO said in a tweet.

A new strain of coronavirus identified in the United Kingdom is up to 70 per cent more infectious but it is not thought to be more deadly and vaccines should still be effective, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and scientists said on Saturday.