The WHO warned that the variant does have a “large number of mutations”, but stressed that it is currently not circulating widely at the moment.
Speaking in a media breifing on Covid-19, Dr Maria Van Kerkhove said: “This variant…has been characterised as a variant under monitioring.
“Our understanding is it is not very well circulating.
“Within France, less 1 percent of the samples that were sequenced in France are of this particular variant.”
But Dr Van Kerkhove warned that people need to be “on the look out”.
She said: “The reason we classify it as a variant under monitoring is to raise awareness and for people to be on the look out for that.”
The strain, dubbed the IHU varaint, has been given the official name B.1.640.
The WHO said that this variant first reported in September 2021 “in a number of countries”.
This is a breaking story. More to follow.