A “new variant” of the COVID-19 virus has been identified in the United Kingdom that spreads far faster than the original type, Britain’s health secretary has said. The World Health Organization has been notified.
Matt Hancock announced that London and a number of other areas in the south of England will be placed under new harsher restrictions following “very sharp rises” in COVID cases. It is not yet known what extent the new variant of COVID has had on the rise in cases, he said.
Hancock told Britain’s lawmakers in the House of Commons that average daily hospital admissions are up 13 percent and that average daily cases have risen 14 percent in the last week across the U.K.
London, parts of Essex and south Hertfordshire in the south of England will now enter the toughest restrictions under “tier three” of the U.K. government’s COVID regulations.
This is a developing story and will be updated as new information becomes available.