The UK government has decided to place London under the highest level of coronavirus restrictions since Wednesday (December 16) due to a sudden increase in COVID-19 cases in the city, as a new variant of the coronavirus has been identified that it is responsible for the “faster spread” of the deadly viral disease.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock told House of Commons MPs that “swift and decisive action” is needed to keep things under control in London and surrounding areas.
The level 3 restrictions announced by the UK government mean London will be under a near-complete lockdown.
“A new variant of the coronavirus has been identified in the UK, which could be associated with the fastest spread in south-east England,” Hancock told Parliament.
“We don’t know to what extent this is due to the new variant, but regardless of its cause, do we need to take swift and decisive action which is unfortunately absolutely essential to control this deadly disease while the vaccine is being rolled out? Do we need to act now? move the curve? because when the virus moves fast, we have to move fast too, “he added.
According to Hancock, over 1,000 cases are identified with the new deadly variant. Most of the cases were recorded in the south of England. “Cases have been identified in nearly 60 different local authority areas and the number is increasing rapidly. Similar variants have been identified in other countries in recent months,” Hancock said.
Hancock told Parliament that the World Health Organization has been informed of the new variant of the coronavirus.
Referring to the launch of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine that began in the UK a few days ago, Hancock said thanks to science “help is on the way”, but “it’s not over yet”.