South African variant bigger risk than UK variant - UK's Hancock

FILE PHOTO: A health worker holds a COVID-19 sample collection kit of a vaccine trials' volunteer, after they were tested for the coronavirus disease and take part in the country's human clinical trial for potential vaccines at the Wits RHI Shandukani Research Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa, August 27, 2020. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

LONDON (Reuters) - The new variant of the COVID-19 virus identified in South Africa is even more of a risk than the highly infectious UK variant, British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Monday, adding that it was a “very significant problem”.

“I’m incredibly worried about the South African variant, and that’s why we took the action that we did to restrict all flights from South Africa,” he told BBC radio.

“This is a very, very significant problem (...) and it’s even more of a problem than the UK new variant.”

Reporting by Kate Holton, writing by Paul Sandle, editing by Estelle Shirbon