British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday, December 3, warned that there can be more strict lockdown restrictions placed in England as cases surge due to the new coronavirus variant. Johnson insisted that he has “no doubt” that schools are safe and urged parents to send their children back to areas where they can. According to the reports by AP, various unions representing teachers are urging to return to remote learning for a few more days due to the new variant. Earlier, the UK announced at a press conference that a novel SARS-CoV-2 variant known as the Variant of Concern 202012/01 (henceforth VOC 202012/01), was prevalent and had rapidly spread across several parts of England, London, and South East.
Boris Johnson said, “We are entirely reconciled to do what it takes to get the virus under control, that may involve tougher measures in the weeks ahead”. He added, “Obviously there are a range of tougher measures that we would have to consider”. He said that school closures, curfews and the total banning of households could be a priority for areas with the maximum number of cases.
London and southeast England are experiencing extremely high levels of cases. Talking about the tiered coronavirus restrictions system, Johnson said, “What we are using now is the tiering system, which is a very tough system, and alas probably about to get tougher to keep things under control. We’ll review it and we have the prospect of vaccines coming down the tracks in their tens of millions, offering people literally life and hope”.
Moreover, the UK also identified a second ‘more transmissible’ COVID-19 variant linked to South Africa which was spreading at a dangerous rate despite the tiering system put in place, UK health secretary Matt Hancock announced. At least two cases in London and North West England who were diagnosed positive to the coronavirus second new variant were put under quarantine. Both the patients had travelled from South Africa over the last few weeks. Scientists have found 17 mutations of the first variant of the fast-evolving genome.
(with inputs from AP)