Further Lockdowns Imposed in England as COVID Variant Spreads

LONDON (Reuters) -
Britain’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock speaks during a media briefing on coronavirus in Downing Street, London, in November. (Trevor Adams/Pool Photo via AP)

The British government said on Wednesday more areas of England would be placed under the strictest COVID-19 restrictions as a highly infectious variant of the virus is spreading across the country.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the Midlands, the northeast, parts of the northwest and parts of the southwest would be moved into Tier 4 from 00.01 on Thursday. Hospitality venues and non-essential shops are closed in Tier 4 and households cannot mix.

“The NHS [health service)]is under very significant pressure; there are over 21,000 people in hospital with coronavirus right now,” he told lawmakers.

“Unfortunately this new variant is now spreading across most of England and cases are doubling fast. It is therefore necessary to apply Tier 4 to a wider area.”

Hancock said three-quarters of England’s population would be in the top tier from Thursday.