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Lockdowns tightened across Britain over new coronavirus variant fears

21 December 2020 09:31 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Lockdown rules in London and parts of south and eastern England have been tightened due to concerns about a new variant of the coronavirus, as Scotland and Wales took their own measures in response to the new strain.


"When the virus changes its method of attack, we have to change our method of defence," British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said at a press conference.


The new strain is thought to be spreading rapidly in the region and is said to be 70 per cent more transmissible, the Press Association reported Johnson as saying.


However, there's no evidence the variant, named VUI 202012/01, has a higher death rate or leads to more severe illness, nor that it is less likely to respond to the vaccines currently being developed.


The World Health Organization said it was in close contact with British officials and would update its member nations and the public as they learned more about the characteristics of the variant and its implications.


Under the new regulations starting Sunday, described as Tier 4, residents can only leave their homes for important reasons, non-essential shops are to close and plans to ease contact restrictions over Christmas have been cancelled.


According to PA, around a third of England's population will be affected by the new measures. 


"Given the early evidence we have on this new variant of the virus, the potential risk it poses, it is with a very heavy heart I must tell you we cannot continue with Christmas as planned," Johnson said. 
London (dpa), 20 Dec, 2020 

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