Eight European countries have now identified cases of the new strain of the novel coronavirus according to the World Health Organisation(WHO).

Hans Kluge, WHO's Regional Director for Europe took to Twitter on Friday to share details about the new variant while emphasizing increased vigilance as the new strain also seems to be spreading among younger age groups.

“8 countries in the @WHO_Europe region have now identified the new #COVID19 variant VOC-202012/01. It is vital to strengthen existing protective measures: distancing/masks/staying in core support bubbles. @WHO is continuing to monitor & will provide updates #solidarity is key,” Kluge wrote.

“The variant also seems to be spreading among younger age groups unlike previous strains. Vigilance is important while research is ongoing to define its impact #UnitedActionForBetterHealth,” Kluge tweeted.

The new variant of the novel coronavirus was identified in the United Kingdom earlier this month. Multiple countries have imposed travel restrictions owing to concerns regarding the new variant.

According to experts, the new variant is likely to be more infectious than previous SARS-CoV-2 variants.

According to WHO, “This new variant detected in the United Kingdom has several combinations of mutations, particularly in the S gene, and there are preliminary signs that the variant may be able to spread more easily between people.”

“There is also preliminary information that the variant may affect the performance of some diagnostic tools; it is thus important to adapt testing to detect this variant. There is currently no indication of any change in disease severity, but this is also under investigation,” it said.