Officials in the United Kingdom are racing to contain a COVID-19 variant traced to the massive outbreak in India.
Experts warn the virulent strain could kill up to 1,000 people per day, the Sun reported.
It could also hijack the nation’s effort to finally lift all its lockdown restrictions by June, according to reports out of London.
“If the virus is significantly more transmissible, we are likely to face some hard choices,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson told reporters on Friday. “I have to level with you that this could be a serious disruption to our progress.”
Public health officials in the UK, supported by soldiers from the British army, spent time Saturday distributing COVID-19 tests door to door in the northern cities of Blackburn and Bolton. Pop-up vaccination sites were also being built to aid the effort to combat the virulent strain.
British government scientists say the Indian coronavirus variant (B.1.617.2) could be 50 percent more transmissible than the 2020 strain that brought economic activity across the nation, and across much of the world, to a halt.
Britain has recorded more than 4.4 million COVID-19 cases and nearly 128,000 deaths, the most of any in Europe, since the outbreak began in early 2020.
The country has planned on Monday to open pubs and restaurants for indoor dining and re-open museums, theaters, cinemas and hotels.