LONDON – England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty confirmed on Saturday that a new strain of coronavirus that has emerged in the country could spread faster and call for greater public vigilance to reduce transmission.
Whitty said London had notified the World Health Organization of its findings. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that London and South East England should slow the new strain.
The new strain of the virus « appears to be much more easily passed on, » Johnson said at a television review. He ordered new restrictions for London and the south-east of England from Sunday and said that under the new « Tier 4 » rules, “residents of these areas will be allowed to live in these areas at least until. December have to stay at home « .
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Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Monday that scientists in the south of England had identified a « new variant » that could cause infections to spread faster.
Whitty said, « With the rapid spread of the new strain, preliminary model data, and rapidly increasing incidence rates in the Southeast, [experts advising the government] now believe that the new strain can spread faster.
“We alerted the World Health Organization,” he said, but added, “There is currently no evidence that the new strain is causing a higher death rate or affecting vaccines and treatments, although urgent work is being done to confirm this. ”
Whitty warned that the new evidence made it « more important than ever » that the public do everything possible to reduce transmission.
On Friday the British government announced 28. 507 new daily positive tests reported. The cases in the past week have grown by 40. 9 percent compared to a week earlier.
Refusing to rule out a new lockdown in England, Johnson said on Friday: « We really hope we can avoid something like this. ”
« But the reality is that infection rates have risen very sharply in the past few weeks, » he said.
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Coronavirus, strain, Boris Johnson
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