London starts fresh Emergency Lockdown as New COVID-19 Strain Spreads
New virus strain in London puts residents on lockdown till end of the month
Residents in London and southeast England must adhere to new emergency lockdown restrictions, as the country fights a wave of COVID-19 infections from a new fast-spreading strain of the virus.
According to a report from Bloomberg,16.4 million Britons are impacted by the new stay-at-home orders that went into effect on Sunday. The move overturns previous plans from Prime Minister Boris Johnson to ease restrictions for the holidays.
“When the virus changes its method of attack we must change our method of defence,” Johnson said at a news conference Saturday. “Without action, the evidence suggests infections would soar, hospitals would become overwhelmed and many thousands more would lose their lives.”
As Bloomberg reports, the new strain appears unique to the U.K. and “can spread significantly more quickly than previous strains in circulation and is behind a huge surge in infections in recent days.” Sixty per cent of London’s cases in the past week, which doubled in comparison to prior weeks, were caused by the new strain.
“There is no current evidence to suggest the new strain causes a higher mortality rate or that it affects vaccines and treatments, although urgent work is underway to confirm this,” England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said. “Given this latest development, it is now more vital than ever that the public continue to take action in their area to reduce transmission.”