css-14iz86j-BoldText {font-weight: bold;} The government does not want to cancel Christmas, but it is “our duty” to act as the new coronavirus variant is “out of control”, says the Minister of Health

A severe new lockdown in London, the south east and east of England could take months, said Matt Hancock

Millions of people across the UK have seen their css-yidnqd-InlineLink: link {color: # 3F3F42;} css-yidnqd-InlineLink: visited {color: # 696969;} css-yidnqd-InlineLink: Link, css- yidnqd-InlineLink: visited {font size: bolder; Margin below: 1px solid #BABABA; -webkit text decoration: none; Text decoration: none;} css-yidnqd-InlineLink: link: hover, css-yidnqd-InlineLink: visited: hover, css-yidnqd-InlineLink: link: focus, css-yidnqd-InlineLink: visited: focus {edge-floor-color : current color; Edge-Floor-Width: 2px; Color: # B80000;} @ supported (text underline offset: 025em) {css-yidnqd-InlineLink: link, css-yidnqd-InlineLink: visited {margin-bottom: none; -webkit text decoration: underline #BABABA; Text decoration: underline #BABABA; -webkit-text decoration-thickness: 1px; Text Decoration Thickness: 1px; -webkit-text-decoration-skip-ink: none; text-decoration-skip-ink: none; text-underline-offset: 025em;} css-yidnqd-InlineLink: link: hover, css-yidnqd-InlineLink: visited: hover, css-yidnqd-InlineLink: link: focus, css-yidnqd-InlineLink: visited: focus {- webkit-text-decoration-color: currentcolor; text-decoration-color: currentcolor; -webkit-text-decoration-thickness: 2px; text-decoration-thickness: 2px; Color: # B80000;}} festive plans severely restricted or scrapped

On Sunday, the number of infections registered daily in the UK reached 35928 new cases an all-time high

The number is almost twice as high as the number of cases reported a week ago (Jan.447)

However, it is believed that the infection rate was higher during the first peak in spring, at which point the testing capacity was too limited to determine the actual number of daily cases

Yvonne Doyle, Medical Director at Public Health England, said: “This sharp and sudden surge is a serious problem

“Most of the new cases reported today are concentrated in London and the South East, although it is too early to determine if this is related to the new variant”

A growing number of countries have banned travel from the UK – including Ireland, Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands – because of the new variant

The Government Advisory Group on New and Emerging Respiratory Viruses estimates that this variant could increase the R-number – which indicates whether an epidemic is growing or shrinking – by 0, 4 and 09, newly published minutes show

Around 21 million people in England and Wales who put new restrictions in place at midnight are supposed to stay at home while non-essential shops and businesses are closing

The proposed relaxation of the rules for Christmas has been removed for those among England’s toughest new Tier 4 measures, while in the rest of England, Scotland and Wales the relaxed rules for indoor mixing have been shortened over the holidays from five days to Christmas were just

Mr Hancock said it was “important for everyone to pretend they have the virus” because we need to get the new variant “under control”

He added, “Of course we don’t want to cancel Christmas we don’t want to take any of these actions, but it is our duty to take them when the evidence is clear”

The Minister of Health said he did not know how long the fourth stage measures would be in place but “it may be some time before we can get the vaccine up and running”

Union leader Sir Keir Starmer said his party supported the recent restrictions but accused Prime Minister Boris Johnson of “gross negligence” for failing to act

Fourth-level residents are asked to stay home unless essential travel is involved, while those in other tiers are advised not to travel to the new fourth-level areas

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said it was very important that people follow the new guides in England and “do not try to travel” and said that additional UK traffic police would be deployed

There is also a ban on travel between Scotland and the rest of the UK during the festive period. Police in Scotland said they would double their patrols at the borders but not introduce checkpoints

Scotland’s restrictions will only be relaxed on Christmas Day, with mainland Scotland having the toughest restrictions starting on Boxing Day

Wales has also initiated a new shutdown, with the Health Secretary saying the new variant has been “sown” in every part

In Northern Ireland, where the proposed easing of the rules for Christmas continues unchanged, four of the five main parties have called an urgent meeting to discuss the restrictions

The Prime Minister’s announcement of new restrictions came just days after defending plans to relax restrictions for five days during the festive period – despite calls from some medical professionals to end the change

Sir Keir said at an online press conference that it “was evident” last week that Mr Johnson’s plans to relax the rules over Christmas were “too great a risk,” adding that his claim that “this is all due to a new” form of the virus that has just emerged does not withstand testing “

He said the “alarm bells have been ringing for weeks” with infections mounting and the NHS reaching capacity in some parts of the country, “but the Prime Minister chose to ignore it”

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, told BBC Breakfast that the “announcement in the 11th Hour is a bitter blow “for families and businesses disappointment”

He urged Londoners to follow the rules he put in place “for a very good reason”, adding that the NHS had told him that hospitals in London had as many Covid patients as they did this weekend at the height of the virus in April

Similar to England’s second national lockdown, Tier 4 applies to Kent, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Surrey (excluding Waverley), Gosport, Havant, Portsmouth, Rother and Hastings

It also applies in London (all 32 boroughs and the City of London) and the east of England (Bedford, Central Bedford, Milton Keynes, Luton, Peterborough, Hertfordshire and Essex (except Colchester, Uttlesford and Tendring)

Susan Hopkins of Public Health England told the government on Friday that the new variant, first identified in mid-October from a sample taken in September, was spreading faster than other viruses in circulation

Dr Hopkins told BBC program Andrew Marr that there is evidence that people with the new strain have “higher viral loads” – meaning they are more contagious

She also said the results had shown that the new variant was up to 70% more transmissible based on modeling the rate of increase of the new strain compared to others in circulation

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Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-55382861