New COVID-19 mutation is ‘out of control’ ─UK Health Secretary

*More than 16 million Britons are now required to stay at home after a lockdown came into force Sunday, in London and South-East England, as the government scrapped plans to relax rules on socialising at Christmas

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

As the second wave of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hits hard on consumers hard in certain economies, UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock has warned that the new strain of the coronavirus is “out of control” and suggested parts of England will be stuck in the new, highest tier of restrictions until a vaccine is rolled out.

Report indicates that more than 16 million Britons are now required to stay at home after a lockdown came into force Sunday in London and South-East England and the government scrapped plans to relax rules on socialising at Christmas.

It was learnt the measures to control the fast-spreading new variant of the virus forbid household mixing in those areas and restrict socialising to just Christmas Day across the rest of England.

Residents across the country were told to keep to their local areas, and extra Police were being deployed at rail stations to stop people travelling out of London.

Hancock told Sky News that “cases have absolutely rocketed; so we’ve got a long way to go.

“I think it will be very difficult to keep it under control until the vaccine has rolled out.” People in the new Tier 4 areas “should behave as though they have it.”

The Health Secretary disclosed that as of Saturday morning, 350,000 people had been vaccinated with the ambition to reach 500,000 by the end of the weekend.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had originally planned to ease pandemic rules for five days during the holiday, but made an abrupt change of tack after emergency talks on the virus mutation with officials.

According to emerging scientific evidence, the new variant ─ which Hancock said had also appeared in Australia and continental Europe ─ can spread significantly more quickly than previous strains in circulation, and is behind the surge in infections in recent days.

Hancock stated of the original plans: “We made the commitment not knowing that there was going to be a new variant that spreads so much faster.

He said there is “no evidence” that the new strain ─ VUI-202012/01 ─ is milder than the original virus.

Meanwhile, Maria van Kerkhove, COVID-19 technical lead at the World Health Organisation (WHO) also told the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme that “we understand that the virus does not cause more severe disease.”

Videos shared on the social media showed a dash for trains out of London on Saturday evening.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps in a statement on that more transport Police will be deployed to stop people taking unnecessary journeys out of the capital. Hancock said Shapps is examining compensation payments for cancelled tickets.

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