Boris Johnson Announces Stricter Tier 4 London Lockdown

Date: 2020-12-19 16:59:28

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed a full lockdown on London and large parts of southeast England in a desperate attempt to stop a new strain of coronavirus that is spreading rapidly in the U.K.

After emergency talks with his most senior officials, Johnson canceled plans to ease pandemic restrictions for five days during the holiday. Household mixing will be banned in London and the south-east and socializing restricted to just Christmas Day across the rest of England.

The premier announced a new Tier 4 will apply in the hot-spot areas around the capital from Sunday, with all non-essential shops closing and millions of people ordered to stay at home.

“When the science changes, we must change our response,” Johnson said in a news conference.

The dramatic escalation in the government’s pandemic response was triggered by a new strain of the virus that is virtually unique to the U.K. Emerging scientific evidence suggests the new variant can spread significantly more quickly than previous strains in circulation and is behind a huge surge in infections in recent days.

Covid-19 case rates nearly doubled in London over the past week, with almost 60% of these infections attributed to the new strain of the virus, according to government officials.