But now, scientists have warned the new mutant strain could have more of an affect in young people.
Children were believed to be less affected by COVID-19 due to how the virus enters human cells – via a receptor called ACE2, which is found on many cells in the upper respiratory tract.
The amount of ACE2 a person expresses steadily increases over time, meaning young children have very little.
Professor Wendy Barclay of Imperial College London and a NERVTAG member, explained: “I think on the topic of children we’ve got to be careful about what we say. We are not saying this is a virus that specifically attacks children or is any more specific in its ability to infect children
“But we know that SARS-CoV-2 as it emerged as a virus was not as efficient at infecting children as it was adults.”