World News – AU – As Britain battles new strain of coronavirus, PM Johnson imposes millions of stricter coronavirus restrictions


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LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday imposed stricter coronavirus controls on millions of people in England and slashed plans to ease restrictions over Christmas to contain a new, more infectious strain of virus.
The number of cases in England has increased in the past two weeks due to a variant of the virus that scientists said is up to 70% more transmissible. Johnson said the government needed urgent action.
« It is with a very heavy heart that I have to tell you that we cannot continue Christmas as planned, » Johnson said at a press conference. « I sincerely believe that I have no alternative. «  »
London and South East England – about a third of the English population – are currently at the highest level of a three-tier system of rules, but are now moving to a new tier 4.
Individuals in this category are required to stay at home except for essential reasons such as work and non-essential retail stores will be closed, as will indoor recreational and indoor entertainment. Social mixing is limited to meeting another person in an outdoor area.
Johnson said on Friday that he hoped England wouldn’t need a third suspension after Christmas.
He had also resisted requests to change plans to ease restrictions for five days during the holiday season and allow three separate households to meet indoors. He said Wednesday that it was « frankly inhuman » to ban Christmas.
Those who are now in Tier 4 are not allowed to mingle with others over Christmas. And everyone else is only allowed to see friends and family for one day.
The new rules will take effect from Saturday evening at midnight.
Like other countries in Europe, the UK is fighting to contain the virus. Johnson’s action comes after concerns over a spike in cases caused by the new infectious strain of the virus – VUI202012 / 01.
It is the infection rate that worries the government and its advisors.
« There’s no evidence that it’s more deadly or causes any more serious illness, » Johnson said. « There is also no evidence that the vaccine will be less effective against the new variant. «  »
Chris Whitty, chief medical officer of England, said authorities had alerted the World Health Organization and were continuing to analyze the available data to improve their understanding of the new strain.
Great Britain reported on Saturday 27. 052 new COVID-19 cases and 534 deaths. The reproduction number « R » is estimated to be 1. 1 and 1. 2, which means that the number of cases is increasing rapidly.
« If we don’t act decisively now, it will mean further suffering, » said Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust and a member of the government’s scientific advisory group on emergencies (SAGE), on Twitter.
The UK was one of the hardest hit European countries – with more than 67. 000 coronavirus-related deaths and more than 2 million reported cases.

Coronavirus, Boris Johnson, trunk

World News – AU – As Britain battles new coronavirus strain, PM Johnson imposes millions of tighter coronavirus restrictions
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