Commuters stroll alongside the Thames Path in view of Tower Bridge in London, U.Okay., on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020.
Hollie Adams | Bloomberg through Getty Images
LONDON — London will likely be positioned into England’s hardest tier of coronavirus restrictions from Wednesday, following a fast rise in Covid-19 an infection charges.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock on Monday confirmed the move as he addressed lawmakers within the House of Commons. He mentioned British authorities had recognized a new variant of the virus that could be linked with the quicker unfold of instances in southeast England.
“Initial analysis suggests that this variant is growing faster than the existing variants,” Hancock mentioned, including that, to date, 1,000 instances of the new variant had been recognized in England.
“There is currently nothing to suggest that this variant is more likely to cause serious disease, and the latest clinical advice is it’s highly unlikely this mutation would fail to respond to a vaccine.”
Hancock mentioned related variants of the coronavirus had been recognized in different nations in latest months and U.Okay. well being authorities had notified the World Health Organization. Public well being consultants would proceed to analyze the newly-identified variant of the virus within the U.Okay., Hancock mentioned.
Earlier this month, the federal government imposed a three-tiered system of public well being measures throughout England to attempt to curb the unfold of the outbreak following a month-long lockdown.
Millions of individuals throughout the nation had been positioned into “Tier 3” on the time, however the U.Okay.’s capital metropolis was put into the second-highest tier of restrictions.
A nationwide evaluation of the tiered-system had initially been scheduled for Dec. 16.
Alongside London, elements of Essex and Hertfordshire are additionally set to move into “Tier 3” from 00:01 London time on Wednesday.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock arrives at BBC Broadcasting House in London to seem on the Andrew Marr present.
Aaron Chown | PA Images through Getty Images
“I know that this is difficult news, and I know that it will mean plans disrupted and that for businesses affected, it will be a significant blow,” Hancock mentioned.
“But this action is absolutely essential, not just to keep people safe but because we have seen early action can help prevent more damaging and longer-lasting problems later,” he added.
Under Tier 3 restrictions, individuals can not combine indoors, in non-public gardens or most outside venues. Shops, gyms and private care providers like hairdressers are allowed to keep open, however bars, pubs and eating places should shut aside from takeaway and supply.
“I know these steps are hard, but we must not waver as we enter the final stretch so that when we look back on this time of crisis, we can all say that we played our part,” Hancock mentioned.
Last week, the U.Okay. grew to become the primary nation to inoculate individuals with a coronavirus therapy that went by way of full testing.
Margaret Keenan, who was 90-years-old on the time, made historical past as the world’s first individual to obtain the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine outdoors of trial circumstances.
It will now be given to front-line well being staff, nursing residence staff and people aged over 80 earlier than it’s given extra broadly among the many U.Okay. inhabitants.
It is hoped a secure and efficient vaccine may assist deliver an finish to the coronavirus pandemic.
To date, greater than 72.Three million individuals have contracted Covid-19 worldwide, with 1.61 million associated deaths, in accordance to knowledge compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
— CNBC’s Holly Ellyatt contributed to this report.