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Tougher UK coronavirus curbs may last some time, health minister suggests Elizabeth Piper LONDON (Reuters) - London and southeast England  Empty Tougher UK coronavirus curbs may last some time, health minister suggests Elizabeth Piper LONDON (Reuters) - London and southeast England

في الإثنين 21 ديسمبر 2020 - 5:24
Tougher UK coronavirus curbs may last some time, health minister suggests
Elizabeth Piper
LONDON (Reuters) - London and southeast England may stay under tighter curbs for some time to stem a fast-spreading new coronavirus strain, Britain’s health minister suggested on Sunday, as COVID-19 cases surged by a record number for one day.

The government faced criticism for abruptly scrapping plans to ease restrictions for Christmas and imposing an effective lockdown on more than 16 million people. Health minister Matt Hancock defended the decision, saying evidence showing the new strain was causing spiralling cases had forced the action.

The variant, which officials say is up to 70% more transmissible than the original, also prompted concerns about a wider spread. Several European countries, including Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium, said they were taking measures to prevent people arriving from Britain, including bans on flights and trains.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson tore up plans to allow three households to mix indoors for five days over the festive period, and imposed new Tier 4 level curbs - similar to a national lockdown in March - on London and southeast England.

Hancock suggested the tougher measures - which require about a third of the population of England to stay at home except for essential reasons such as work - might remain in place until vaccinations become more widely available.

“We’ve got a long way to go to sort this,” Hancock told Sky News.
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