Prime Minister Boris Johnson has imposed stricter regulations across much of England in an effort to eradicate the mutant strain of coronavirus that is spreading rapidly across the country.
Sussex, Oxfordshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, most of Hampshire and the rest of Essex will now face the stricter rules of the government’s 4-tier system, starting at 00:01 on December 26, said Health Secretary Matt Hancock on Wednesday at a press conference.
They join London and the south east of England, which means that non-essential stores will have to close and socialization will be further reduced.
The UK reports 39,237 new cases of viruses, most since the beginning of the pandemic
The new variant “is spreading at a dangerous rate,” said Hancock, putting the increase in cases last week at 57%. “The direction is clear and, in many cases, quite rigid.”
The government is struggling to bring the virus back into control after the new mutant strain started to spread rapidly in London and surrounding areas.
After a blockade across England last month halted the growth of infections, the virus spread again exponentially, risking overburdening the National Health Service as cases increased.
Separately, the Treasury announced £ 800 million ($ 1.1 billion) in new cash for decentralized administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to help them support companies and workers during the pandemic. This brings the total extra cash for regional governments announced since the March budget to £ 16.8 billion.
The Treasury is spending 280 billion pounds to fight the virus and support businesses and workers in the current fiscal year. But pressure is increasing for Treasury Chancellor Rishi Sunak to spend even more, not less on the hospitality sector he has chosen. special assistance during the summer.
“These urgent restrictive actions require equally urgent follow-up financial support for companies, many of which have been launched closer to business failure,” said UKHospitality CEO Kate Nicholls in a statement. “The relentless hammering of the hospitality business must be followed by an equally exaggerated series of supports.”
The UK reported 39,237 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, the biggest daily increase since the pandemic began. Another 744 deaths were recorded in 28 days after a positive test, the highest since late April.
While ministers resist hope that a vaccination program started this month means that restrictions could begin to loosen in the spring, Hancock warned that the new mutation complicates things.
“This Christmas and the beginning of 2021 will be difficult,” he said. “The new variant makes it much more difficult because it spreads much faster.”
The new variant of the coronavirus, which emerged in southeastern England in September, alarmed scientists and governments around the world because initial analyzes suggest it may be up to 70% more transmissible than other circulating strains. Countries like France have temporarily suspended UK travel.
Hancock also said that two new cases of an even more transmissible variant originating in South Africa have been detected so far in the UK. He told people who recently returned from South Africa to quarantine.
|Moving to Level 4||The rest of Essex, Sussex, Oxfordshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Waverley in Surrey and Hampshire (including Portsmouth and Southampton, but excluding New Forest)|
|Moving to Level 3||Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Swindon, Isle of Wight, New Forest, Nothamptonshire, Cheshire and Warrington|
|Moving to Level 2||Cornwall, Herefordshire|
The latest decision means that as of December 26, 24 million people will be at level 4, 25 million at level 3 and 7 million at level 2. The slightly more than 2,000 residents of the Isles of Scilly on the southwest coast will be only people left Tier 1 in England.
Across the UK, the virus’s reproduction factor – the so-called R number – is now between 1.1 and 1.3, the government said in a statement. This means that every 10 infected people spread the virus to another 11 to 13 people.
The rate has increased since November, when a blockade in England helped push it down to less than 1, meaning the outbreak was shrinking. The situation is now particularly acute in London and eastern England, where the R could reach 1.5, according to Wednesday’s statement.
|Region||Most recent R number||Last week|
|East of England||1.2-1.5||1.2-1.4|
|North East and Yorkshire||0.9-1.1||0.9-1.1|
(Updates with the affected population in the 15th paragraph.)