London, December 19: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a "stay at home" order for London - the country's capital - and most parts of Southeast England where a new strain of COVID-19 has been detected. The new variant of coronavirus was found to be "70 percent more infectious", sais Johnson as he justified the Tier 4 lockdown order ahead of Christmas.
The measures, in other words, would bar public celebration of coronavirus in the British capital and areas where Tier 4 curbs have come into effect. The strict set of restrictions will remain till at least December 30, the UK PM said in his address to the nation today. New Variant of COVID-19 Behind Faster Spread of Infection in United Kingdom.
"It is with a very heavy heart I must tell you we cannot continue with Christmas as planned," Johnson added. "Alas when the facts change, you have to change your approach," he further said.
The United Kingdom had announced a nationwide second lockdown in November, and had expected the restrictions to be eased up by Christmas. By the start of this month, the norms were relaxed as the pace of transmission reduced.
However, a new variant of coronavirus - though not more lethal - has been found to be more contagious. More than two-third of the new cases in southeast England are credited to the fresh variant of the virus, officials said.