According to the WHO on Wednesday, the UK variant of COVID-19 has now been discovered in 70 countries around the globe.
In its latest epidemiological update, the UN health agency noted that the new variant, which could render vaccine and antibody protection less effective, has spread rapidly, with 10 more countries reporting the new strain in the past several days.
In response to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's remarks last week that new studies have indicated the strain could be more deadly, the WHO stressed such results were "preliminary, and more analysis is required to further corroborate" those findings.
The WHO also noted that the South African variant has spread to 31 countries, eight more than a week ago.
Recent lab studies have shown the variant "is less susceptible to antibody neutralization", raising concern it poses a high risk of reinfection.
Meanwhile, the British government has announced a fresh set of measures to prevent COVID-19 and its various strains from coming in from other countries.
This includes a 10-day quarantine at hotels for arrivals from 22 COVID-19 hotspot nations.
"We have also banned all travel from 22 countries where there is a risk of known variants, including South Africa, Portugal, and South American nations. And in order to reduce the risk posed by UK nationals and residents returning home from these countries, I can announce that we will require all such arrivals who cannot be refused entry to isolate in government-provided accommodation, such as hotels for 10 days, without exception."
People travelling outside the UK will also need to declare their reason for leaving the country, or face being turned away at the airport.
Meanwhile, South Korea on Wednesday extended its suspension of direct flights from Britain for another two weeks.
According to the South Korean Embassy in Britain, the suspension, which was set to end Thursday,.. will now remain in place until February 11th.
As of Monday, South Korea had reported 27 cases of variants, including 19 from the UK and 5 from South Africa.
Lee Seung-jae, Arirang News.