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Tighter COVID-19 restrictions imposed in London as infections surge

Tighter COVID-19 restrictions imposed in London as infections surge

London will move into England’s highest tier of COVID-19 restrictions, the government said on Monday, citing increased infection rates that may be partly linked to a new variant of the coronavirus.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said more than 1,000 cases of the new variant had been identified, mainly in southeastern England.

Although there was currently nothing to suggest the new strain was likely to cause more serious disease or that it would not respond to a vaccine, Hancock said that it could be contributing to higher infection rates.

“Over the last week, we’ve seen very sharp, exponential rises in the virus across London, Kent, parts of Essex and Hertfordshire,” Hancock told the House of Commons in a statement, referring to counties near London.

“We do not know the extent to which this is because of the new variant, but no matter its cause, we have to take swift and decisive action,” he said, announcing that the entire capital and some neighbouring areas would go into “High Alert” level.

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Earlier this month, the government implemented a three-tiered system of restrictions in England to try to keep a second wave of the virus under control after a month-long national lockdown. More than 40% of citizens were placed in the highest risk category.

However London, whose 9 million people and world-leading financial centre make it the engine of the British economy, was initially left in the middle tier of restrictions.

© 2020 CANDOUR

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