On the first day of a newly imposed lockdown in London, UK, November 5, 2020, a bus drive was signed demonstrating government-imposed measures against the outbreak of coronovirus disease (COVID-19).
John Sibley | Reuters
LONDON – The UK government on Wednesday outlined a plan to impose a stringent coronavirus ban on millions of people across England as a new strain of the virus spread across the country.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that areas beyond 00:01 London time on Thursday will be placed in the toughest Tier 4 category.
Hank told the House of Commons, “This new version is now spreading across England and cases are rapidly doubling.” “It is therefore necessary to implement Tier 4 measures over a broad area, including the remaining parts of the South-East, as well as large parts of the Middle-East, North-West, North-East and South-West.”
Hancock said the move would mean three-quarters of the population in Tier 4 for the new year.
The ban, which includes a “stay at home” order, means that people should not leave their homes unless they have a reasonable excuse. Businesses including non-essential shops, gyms and hairdressers should be closed.
The announcement comes soon after authorizing the Oxford-AstraAnica coronavirus vaccine for emergency use in the UK, it is believed that the vaccine will allow the UK to significantly complete its vaccination program.
“We need to get vaccinated as soon as the supply follows the necessary safety checks, and NHS is set to accelerate mass deployment from Monday 4 January,” Hancock said.
He said: “We have a total of 100 million doses on order, which combined with Pfizer’s vaccine is enough to vaccinate every adult in the UK, with both doses.”
Everyone wants a vaccine to be able to get one, Hancock said, with 530,000 doses available in the UK from Monday, millions more than Astra-Zeneca in early February.
Government data shows that the rate of infection has increased sharply at hospitals with significant rates in the past week.
On Tuesday, 53,135 new Kovid cases were reported in the UK, representing the largest single-day increase since the start of mass trials.
The new coronavirus version found in the UK is reportedly more contagious and has led to travel restrictions for those wishing to leave the country. British Community Prime Minister Boris Johnson has stated that the new strain, referred to as SARS-CoV-2 VUI 202012/01, may exceed 70% in the science community.
US health officials confirmed the first case of the new strain on Wednesday. Several other countries have also identified variant strains in recent weeks.