New Covid strain found in London that spreads all of a sudden; hard Tier 3 restrictions ordered – world news

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The British capital will move into the toughest top tier of the three-level Covid-19 alert system from early Wednesday after health secretary Matt Hancock told the House of Commons on Monday that there was a “very sharp exponential” rise of cases in recent days.

Hancock also revealed that a new variant of Covid-19 had been detected, which may have caused the spike in cases in London, Essex and Kent. The World Health Association, he said, had been informed of the variant, which is unlikely to bring more serious disease than others.

He said: “We have identified a new variant of coronavirus, that could be associated with the fastest spread in the south-east of England. Initial analysis suggests that this variant is growing faster than the existing variants”.

“We’ve currently identified over 1,000 cases with this variant, predominantly in the south of England, even if cases have been identified in almost 60 different native authority areas, and numbers are increasing all of a sudden”.

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A city under Tier 3 is subject to the tightest restrictions, including the closure of pubs, cafes and restaurants; inability to mix indoors, in private gardens or in most out of doors venues, aside from inside a household or bubble.

Indoor entertainment venues – such as bowling alleys and cinemas – will have to also stay closed, and people are advised not to go back and forth to and from Tier 3 areas. The review of the alert system used to be due on Wednesday, but used to be advanced because of the spike in new cases.

Hancock called or continued vigilance in what he called “the last stretch”, since “it’s not over yet…there isn’t a moment to spare”, but famous that the mass vaccination programme has begun, but even so increased testing.

But even so Greater London, the new areas under Tier 3 are parts of Essex and Hertfordshire.

London mayor Sadiq Khan said: “The surge in coronavirus cases across our capital is deeply concerning…Whether the Government does make a decision to introduce further restrictions in London this week, the economic have an effect on on businesses could be catastrophic with hundreds of thousands of livelihoods at stake”.

“2020 has been a dismal year for our once-thriving hospitality sector and world-famous cultural scene, which both contribute billions to our economy and attract millions of visitors. Without protecting them, there may also be no meaningful recovery”, he added.

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