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I am sorry to report that the situation has worsened since I last spoke to you three days ago

Yesterday afternoon I was informed of the latest data showing the virus is spreading in London, the South East and East of England faster than would be expected given the strict restrictions already in place

I also received an explanation of why the virus is spreading faster in these areas. It appears that this spread is now being driven by the new variant of the virus that we first heard about earlier this week

Our advisory group for new and emerging respiratory threats – NERVTAG – has been analyzing the new variant over the past few days

There is no evidence that the variant causes more severe illness or higher mortality, but it appears to be much more easily passed on

NERVTAG’s early analysis suggests that the new variant could increase R by 04 or higher, although there is considerable uncertainty, it can be up to 70% more transferable than the old variant

This is early data, it is subject to review, it is the best we have right now and we need to respond to information as we have it because it is now spreading very quickly

The UK has by far the best genomic sequencing ability in the world, which means we can identify new strains like this better than any other country

The Chief Medical Officer presented our results so far to the World Health Organization yesterday evening, and we will continue to be fully transparent to our global partners

There’s still a lot we don’t know. Although we’re pretty sure the variant is transmitted faster, there’s no evidence that it is more deadly or causes more serious disease, nor is there any evidence that the vaccine is against the new variant will be less effective

I met as the first minister in the Covid Operations Committee last night and this morning, and the cabinet met at lunchtime to agree the following actions

First, we will be introducing new restrictions in the hardest hit areas – particularly those parts of London, the South East and East of England that are currently in Tier 3

These areas will be included in a new Tier 4, which is broadly in line with the national restrictions in force in England in November

Residents in these areas must stay at home, subject to limited exceptions provided by law
Unnecessary retail stores, gyms and recreational facilities, and personal care services must be closed
People need to work from home when they can but can travel to work when they cannot, for example in the construction and manufacturing sectors
People should not enter or leave Tier 4 areas, and Tier 4 residents are not allowed to stay away from home overnight
Individuals can only meet one person from another household in an outdoor public space

Unlike the national restrictions in November, the community service can still be held in Tier 4 areas

All levels will continue to be periodically reviewed according to the previously established approach, with the next formal review point on Jan. December takes place

Although the new variant focuses on Tier 4 areas, it is nonetheless present at lower levels across the country

Individuals should carefully consider whether they need to travel abroad and follow the rules at their level

Persons in Tier 4 areas are allowed, with limited exceptions, e.g. B. for work purposes, do not travel abroad

As Prime Minister, it is my duty to make the tough decisions and to do what is right to protect the people of this country

Given the early evidence we have of this new variant of the virus and the potential risk it poses, it is with a heavy heart that I have to tell you that we cannot continue Christmas as planned

In England, those living in Tier 4 areas shouldn’t mingle with people outside their own household at Christmas, although support bubbles remain for those at particular risk of loneliness or isolation

In the rest of the country, the Christmas rules, according to which up to three households can come together, are limited to Christmas Day and no longer to the five days previously set

It will still be on 31 December does not give relaxation, so people are not allowed to break the rules at New Year

I know how much emotion people invest in this time of year and how important it is that grandparents see their grandchildren and that families are together

So I know how disappointing this is going to be, but we said during this pandemic that we must and will be guided by science

As your Prime Minister, I sincerely believe that I have no alternative. Without action, the evidence suggests infections would increase, hospitals would be overwhelmed, and many thousands more would lose their lives

I want to emphasize that we are not alone in this struggle – many of our European friends and neighbors are forced to take similar measures

We are working closely with the decentralized administrations to protect the people in all parts of the UK

Of course there is hope now – real hope – that we will get rid of this virus soon

Great Britain was the first country in the western world to use a clinically approved vaccine

If the NHS contacts you, please get your vaccine – and join the 350000 people across the UK who have already received their first dose

We are sacrificing our chance to see our loved ones for Christmas so we can better protect their lives so we can see them for Christmas in the future

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COVID-19, covid 19

World News – GB – Declaration by the Prime Minister on the Coronavirus (COVID-19): 19 December 2020

Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/prime-ministers-statement-on-coronavirus-covid-19-19-december-2020