LONDON: Hours after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed a lockdown on London and southeast England, Britain’s health secretary Matt Hancock admitted that the coronavirus is out of control.
A new variant of the Covid-19 virus that is assessed to be up to 70% faster in transmission than the earlier strain has been reported in the UK, with Scotland banning travellers from England, while Wales went into another lockdown. Early data suggests the new strain could be "up to 70 percent more transmissible", according to PM Boris Johnson.
Hancock stated that situation now is “incredibly difficult”. The best gift that people could give for Christmas is to stay at home and not spread the virus, he said.
London and southeast England have been placed in the new Tier 4 of the Covid-19 alert system, which has varying curbs, from Tier 1 (lowest) to Tier 4 (toughest; equivalent to a full lockdown). It is somewhat similar to the 'containment zone' system that is being implemented in India.
Hancock indicated in Sunday’s media interviews that London’s lockdown could last months, until a vaccine is rolled out across the population.
“There are no easy answers or easy options. I think the mistake would be to ignore new scientific evidence,” he added.
So far, 350,000 people have received the first shot of a two-dose vaccine delivered by Pfizer-BioNTech.
Meanwhile, Thailand's authorities locked down the country's biggest seafood market and the surrounding area after the largest spike in cases there since the pandemic began.
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