UK faces lockdowns, travel bans as deadlier COVID strain emerges

UK faces lockdowns, travel bans as deadlier COVID strain emerges

It can take months before the lockdown in London and the East of England is lifted

The United Kingdom is hit by a new, more extreme strain of COVID-19, prompting the English government to lockdown London and most of East England for the foreseeable future. England saw a 51% rise in a week over week cases reported. Health Secretary Matt Hancock has warned the masses that the lockdown may stay in effect for months to come until the coronavirus vaccine’s full rollout.

British Prime Minister Borris Johnson has urged the Britons to cancel their holiday travel plans in the wake of an “out of control” virus strain. Around 16.4 million people are affected by the strictest “tier four” measures from Sunday, which accounts for 31% of the country’s population.

Out of control strain

“Unfortunately, the new strain was out of control. We have got to get it under control,” Hancock said, justifying the strictest lockdown yet. In the affected areas, a family gathering is not allowed. In the rest of the country, only one day Christmas celebrations are now allowed, as opposed to the five-day celebrations that were previously proposed.

“It’s going to be very difficult to keep it under control until we have the vaccine rolled out,” he said, adding: “This is what we face over the next couple of months.” Hancock also said that half a million people are expected to be vaccinated soon.

Travel Ban

Several countries in the European Union have barred travelers from England to stop the spread of the new strain. Germany, France, Italy, Canada, Israel, the Netherlands and Belgium have stopped travelers from the UK while others are considering similar steps. The United States has thus far not taken any such decision.

The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control has said that a few new strain cases had also been reported in Denmark, the Netherlands, and possibly in Belgium. A similar COVID strain may have been found in South Africa as well.

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