London moves into 'Tier 3' restrictions as scientists find 'new variant' of COVID-19 which may spread faster
New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Scientists n the United Kingdom (UK) have found a new variant of the deadly coronavirus in the south of England that may lead to the faster spread of the highly contagious virus, London's Health Secretary Matt Hancock said.
According to a report by news agency AFP, quoting the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, the new variant discovered by the scientists does not intend to cause more serious cases and the latest clinical advice is that the new variant is very unlikely to fail to respond to a COVID-19 vaccine.
"There's currently nothing to suggest it is more likely to cause serious cases and the latest clinical advice is it is highly unlikely to fail to respond to a vaccine."
The Health Secretary's remarks came beside the announcement by the Health Minister to place London into Tier 3 level of restrictions due to the spiralling numbers of coronavirus infections in the British capital. Tier 3, as the health minister said, is the highest level coronavirus restrictions imposed in the city so far, which will start from Wednesday GMT 0001.
In the Tier 3 restrictions, theatres, as well as pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues, will have to close, except for takeaway food, in the city. Along with this, people are not supposed to socialise with anyone, not from their household, but they can meet in groups of up to six in public places outside.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said London had seen a "sharp rise" in daily cases and hospital admissions, and there was public health concern about a new strain of the coronavirus.
"This action is absolutely essential, not just to keep people safe but because we have seen early action can prevent more damage and longer-term problems later," he told parliament, as quoted by AFP, adding that "it only takes a few doublings for the NHS (National Health Service) to be overwhelmed."
Currently, London is in "Tier 2", which means non-essential shops and services can open, but it currently has one of the highest infection rates in the country. Tier 3 or "very high alert" means that while bars, pubs and cafes can only offer takeaway food and drinks, shops and hairdressers can stay open, as can schools.
The switch to stricter measures is a fresh blow to businesses already hit by repeated restrictions this year and in the run-up to Christmas, normally their busiest time. Parts of the counties of Essex, Kent and Hertfordshire, which border London, will also be placed in Tier 3 restrictions.
(With Agency Inputs)
Posted By: Talib Khan