Britain Says New Virus Strain 'Out of Control'

Remigio Civitarese
Dicembre 21, 2020

In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has imposed tighter coronavirus curbs and largely reversed plans to ease restrictions over Christmas as the country battles a new more infectious strain of the Corona virus. It is not known, however, if the new strain is more unsafe and if the recently released vaccines are effective against it.

"The undoubtable truth is this new variant is effectively seeded across the country, so acting now takes account of the fact that this new variant is undoubtedly a factor - we can't say how much of a factor - in the rapid growth in cases across south Wales", he told the BBC.

Tough new Covid controls could be in place for months, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has warned as he admitted a mutant new strain of the virus was running "out of control".

Twitter users mourned the cancellation of Christmas last night after Boris Johnson plunged London, the South East and East of England into a strict new Tier 4 lockdown.

Some 21 million people in England and Wales who entered new restrictions at midnight are being told to stay at home, while non-essential shops and businesses have to close.

"Unfortunately the new strain was out of control". "I think it will be very hard to keep it under control until the vaccine has rolled out".

The new restrictions in England, which came into effect at midnight on Saturday and effectively quarantined the capital and other areas from the rest of the country, are the harshest measures to be taken since the country's first lockdown in March.

Soon after Johnson announced the changes on Saturday afternoon, some in London headed for train stations to try to travel to see relatives over Christmas, and there were scenes of crowding - something Hancock called "totally irresponsible". Transport officials said that they would increase the number of police officers monitoring hubs like railway stations to ensure only essential journeys were being taken.

Mr Hancock acknowledged that the speed of the changes had left people feeling "cross, frustrated and in many cases angry". The initial ban will be for 48 hours, said PM Jean Castex.

It's not just France who are shielding themselves from Britain.

Trains into Britain were also cancelled by Belgian authorities. The number of cases in England has soared in the last two weeks because of a variant of the virus that scientists said is up to 70% more transmissible.

However, "there's no evidence to suggest it is more lethal or causes more severe illness", or that vaccines would be less effective against it, he said.

Mr Hancock insisted they had acted "very quickly and decisively" after ministers were told on Friday by scientists on the Government's New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag) that the new strain was spreading more quickly. The new strain was identified in southeastern England in September and has been spreading in the area ever since, a World Health Organization official told the BBC on Sunday.

Concerns about the rapid spread of the disease were underlined with the publication of the latest official figures showing there had been a further 35,928 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United Kingdom as of 9am on Sunday.

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