BORIS Johnson has refused to rule out a 3rd nationwide lockdown after Christmas.
The PM as we speak warned more durable restrictions could possibly be wanted to maintain a mutant coronavirus pressure “working uncontrolled” within the New Yr.
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Boris Johnson has refused to rule out a 3rd nationwide lockdown after ChristmasCredit score: PA:Press Affiliation
It comes because the speedy unfold of the brand new variant, believed to be as much as 70 per cent extra contagious, noticed tens of millions of Brits in London and the South East of England plunged right into a Tier 4 lockdown simply earlier than Christmas.
Additional areas are set to be put into Tier 4 on Boxing Day amid fears the brand new pressure has already unfold throughout the nation.
Talking at a press convention to announce the UK’s post-Brexit commerce take care of the EU, Mr Johnson stated the brand new variant had led to “very appreciable new strain” – and didn’t one other nationwide lockdown.
The PM stated: “We imagine that we’re going to must get by means of this robust interval now with, as I’ve stated many occasions, very robust restrictions, with robust tiering.
“As a lot as I remorse that, I do suppose it’s essential for us to drive this virus now to cease it working uncontrolled in January.
“We have to purchase ourselves time to get the vaccine into as many arms of the aged and susceptible as we are able to.”
Mr Johnson acknowledged that the last-minute cancellation of Christmas for tens of millions of Brits was “very robust”, however harassed it will “proceed to be troublesome” as the brand new variant is spreading at an alarming fee.
However the PM raised hopes of a return to normality as early as subsequent Spring by means of the rollout of a vaccine, as Division of Well being figures launched this week confirmed 616,933 individuals had acquired their first dose.
It comes as new evaluation from the Workplace for Nationwide Statistics discovered that 49 per cent of latest circumstances in England between December 14 and 18 have been linked to the brand new pressure, which was first found by well being authorities in Kent in October.
In keeping with the ONS, round 645,800 Brits had coronavirus between December 12 and 19 – the equal of 1 in 85 individuals.
Figures launched as we speak by Public Well being England present an enormous surge in infections in Essex, with Brentwood now the hardest-hit space of the UK with 1339.9 circumstances per 100,000 within the seven days as much as December 20.
That is greater than twice the determine of 586.9 per 100,000 reported the week earlier than.
In sharp distinction to the Autumn, not a single space within the beforehand hard-hit North of England makes it into the High 50 areas with the very best an infection fee.
However there are rising fears that the brand new variant has already unfold to different areas and will immediate a pointy rise in circumstances.
Buyers benefit from their final time out in Southampton. The town will go into Tier 4 on Boxing Day
The emergence of the brand new pressure poses a problem for Britain’s exit technique from the pandemic.
In keeping with the Daily Mail, SAGE advisers have warned that the UK wants to hurry up the rollout of a vaccine to a staggering two million Brits every week and keep a nationwide lockdown all through January to keep away from hundreds of deaths.
With out tighter controls and an acceleration of the vaccine programme, the nation dangers struggling extra deaths within the first half of 2021 than the entire of 2020, in accordance with evaluation from the London College of Hygiene and Tropical Medication.
The paper, which is but be peer reviewed, concluded that the brand new variant was round 56 per cent extra transmissible than current variants.
Researchers declare 90 per cent of all circumstances within the UK could possibly be linked to the brand new pressure by mid-January, the Guardian experiences.
It comes because the UK as we speak recorded 39,036 new Covid infections in a single day within the second greatest ever leap.
One other 574 individuals have died because the toll hits highs final seen through the peak of the primary wave in April.