British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on the 19th that due to the discovery of a faster-spreading coronavirus variant, the United Kingdom will tighten its epidemic prevention restrictions during Christmas and raise the epidemic prevention and control level in the capital London and southeastern England to a new level of fourth.
A new round of epidemic is now hitting the UK. According to the latest data, the United Kingdom reported 27,052 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus on the 19th, with a total of more than 2 million confirmed cases; 534 new deaths, with a cumulative death of more than 67,000.
Johnson said on the 19th that a mutant novel coronavirus is spreading rapidly in London and southeastern England. It spreads 70% faster than the original discovery of COVID-19. The Associated Press reported, using multiple British officials, that 60% of the newly added confirmed cases in London were caused by mutant COVID-19.
Patrick Vallance, chief scientific adviser to the British government, said: “This virus is rampant and spread faster, which will inevitably lead to a surge in the number of patients admitted to hospitals.”
Johnson said that there is no evidence that the mutant coronavirus has a higher mortality rate or causes more severe symptoms, and there is no evidence that the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine against the mutant virus will be weakened.
On the 2nd of this month, the United Kingdom approved the emergency use of the coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. and the German Biotechnology Company, and launched vaccination on the 8th.
The British government has reported to the World Health Organization that a new variant of the novel coronavirus has been discovered this week.
Maria van Kerkehof, WHO’s head of COVID-19 technology, told media reporters that there is no evidence for the time being that mutant COVID-19 is “behaving differently” from the virus that has been discovered, and that the newly discovered virus variant is similar to the mutant previously found in Europe on sable.
She said that scientists will continue to study how the new virus variants differ from the discovered viruses in terms of triggering the human immune response.
Johnson said on the 19th: “I’m in a deep mood, but I must tell everyone that we can’t celebrate Christmas as planned.” He said that the government has no choice but to tighten epidemic prevention restrictions; people have to sacrifice Christmas reunion opportunities to better protect their relatives and friends.
On the 19th, the British government raised the epidemic prevention and control level in London and southeastern England from the original “very high” to the new level four, the highest level. The corresponding epidemic prevention measures at this level are similar to the recent nationwide “lockdown” in the UK.
Britain’s previous epidemic prevention and control alert system corresponds to the three epidemic alert levels of “medium”, “high” and “very high” and the corresponding prevention and control measures in the first to three levels respectively.
The population of the fourth level of epidemic prevention in Britain is 16.4 million, accounting for about one-third of England’s population. Under the new epidemic prevention regulations, the government requires people in London and southeastern England to stay at home, except for necessary reasons such as work.
People are not allowed to party during Christmas holidays, and only one-on-one outdoor limited socialization. Shops and indoor leisure and entertainment facilities selling non-essential goods in the above areas will also be closed.
The new epidemic prevention regulations will be implemented at 00:00 on the 20th, and currently only apply to England. In areas where the epidemic prevention level in England has not been upgraded to level 4, up to three family gatherings are allowed during Christmas.
The Scottish local government said on the 19th that Scottish people are prohibited from going to other parts of the UK during the Christmas holiday. Only on December 25, the epidemic prevention restrictions will be relaxed, and the epidemic prevention and control level will be raised to level 4 from the 26th.
Wales will enter the fourth level of epidemic prevention and control from 00:00 on the 20th, but two families can get together at Christmas. The Northern Ireland region will tighten epidemic prevention restrictions after Christmas.