Further measures for England as new virus variant found

Millions extra folks in England will face escalated Covid-19 lockdown measures from St Stephen's Day, as ministers acknowledged mounting concern in regards to the unfold of coronavirus.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock mentioned the variant coronavirus was spreading at a "dangerous rate" as he introduced the recent Tier 4 restrictions.

He additionally mentioned instances of one other new mutant coronavirus linked to South Africa had been found in Britain, and imposed new journey restrictions for the nation.

Mr Hancock's announcement got here as an additional 40,000 instances had been confirmed throughout the UK, as nicely as 744 deaths – the very best quantity since April.

Areas shifting to the hardest Tier 4 measures, the place there’s a keep at house order, from St Stephen's Day embody Sussex, Oxfordshire, Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.

Other areas embody elements of Essex that aren’t but in Tier 4, Waverley in Surrey and Hampshire, together with Portsmouth and Southampton.

Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset together with the North Somerset council space, Swindon, the Isle of Wight, the New Forest and Northamptonshire as nicely as Cheshire and Warrington will all be escalated to Tier 3.

Cornwall and Herefordshire transfer from Tier 1 to Tier 2.

Mr Hancock informed a Downing Street press convention: "Just as we had got a tiered system in place that was able to control this virus we have discovered a new, more contagious virus – a variant that is spreading at a dangerous rate."

He mentioned each are contacts of instances who’ve travelled from South Africa over the previous few weeks.

"This new variant is highly concerning because it is yet more transmissible and it appears to have mutated further than the (first) new variant that's been discovered in the UK," Mr Hancock mentioned.

He added: "Against this backdrop of rising infections, rising hospitalisations and rising numbers of individuals dying from coronavirus it’s completely important that we act.

"We simply cannot have the kind of Christmas that we all yearn for."

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Mr Hancock additionally mentioned the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine has now submitted full information to the regulator for approval.

"Amid all this difficulty, the great hope for 2021 is of course the vaccine," he mentioned.

He added: "The vaccine is our route out of all this and nonetheless powerful this Christmas and this winter goes to be, we all know that the remodeling pressure of science helps to discover a means by way of.

"I'm delighted to have the ability to let you know that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine developed right here within the UK has submitted its full information package deal to the MHRA for approval.

"This is the next step towards a decision on the deployment of the vaccine which is already being manufactured, including here in the UK."
 

based mostly on website supplies www.rte.ie

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