New coronavirus strain is ‘out of control,’ UK Health Minister says
Share article:
Share article:

New coronavirus strain is ‘out of control,’ UK Health Minister says

Credit: Belga

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Sunday that the new strain of new coronavirus (Covid-19) in the UK is “out of control,” which is why a lockdown had to be reinstituted in London and other parts of England.

“Unfortunately, the new strain is out of control,” Hancock said on Sky News TV. “We’ve got to get it under control, and the only way you could do that was by restricting social contact.”

On Saturday evening, the government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that a strict lockdown was being reinstituted in and around London as well as other parts of England, now designated “Tier 4” areas.

Under the new lockdown, effective 20 December, people in the areas concerned are not allowed to travel outside their zones. Over 16 million residents are now obliged to stay at home and call off Christmas gatherings.

Related News:


Non-essential shops and stores will remain closed, as will hairdressers and gyms, in addition to pubs, restaurants and museums, which were already closed.

“Essentially, especially in Tier 4 areas, everybody needs to behave as if they have the virus, and that’s the way we can get it under control and keep people safe,” Hancock said.

He noted that it would be “an enormous challenge” to keep the virus under control until the Covid-19 vaccine was completely rolled out. This was what the UK would be facing over the next two months, he added.

The new strain appeared in mid-September in London or in the south-eastern county of Kent, according to the Chief Scientific Adviser to the British Government, Patrick Vallance.

The UK government has informed the World Health Organisation (WHO) that it has been spreading faster than the original strain – up to 70% faster, according to Boris Johnson.

Vallance indicated that, in addition to spreading faster, the new strain was also becoming the “dominant” one, leading to a “very high increase” in hospitalisations in December.

Previous mutations of the Covid-19 virus have also been observed elsewhere in the world.

The Brussels Times

Latest news

Will Brussels bounce back?
The lockdowns have tested the city and forced it to confront key questions about its future. Derek Blyth looks back at an extraordinary moment in our ...
Huge cannabis farm discovered inside closed down Chinese restaurant near Charleroi
A cannabis plantation with several hundred mature plants was dismantled on Friday evening in a former Chinese restaurant on Chaussée de Bruxelles ...
Citizen founded wind turbine project launched in Liège region
A citizen founded wind turbine project was inaugurated in the Liège Region on Saturday by Walloon Energy Minister Philippe Henry (Ecolo) together ...
Five questions to philosopher Philippe Van Parijs on Leopold II and embarrassment in Brussels’ public space
The worldwide explosion of the Black Lives Matter movement in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd, combined with the 60th anniversary of the ...
Belgium to invest in sustainable heating in 2022
The federal government will set aside about one million euros in its 2022 budget for a social tariff for sustainable heating, Federal Energy Minister ...
Anti-vaxxers demonstrate against Covid Safe Ticket in Brussels
Hundreds of supporters of the anti-vaxx movement gathered on Saturday outside the headquarters of the Pfizer pharmaceutical company to protest ...
Belgium’s investment funds total 260 billion euros in assets
Belgium’s funds industry grew by 5.3% (13 billion euros) in the second quarter of this year, bringing investment funds available to the public to ...
Brussels to Luxembourg by train in two hours soon possible
The fastest train ride between Brussels and Luxembourg currently takes almost three hours, but that could be slashed to about two hours thanks to the ...
Daily Covid infections up by almost 30% in Belgium
Between 6 and 12 October, an average of 2,438 people were infected with the Covid-19 virus every day, according to figures from the Sciensano public ...
Over 80,000 companies in Belgium non-compliant with anti-money laundering meassures
Over 80,000 companies and non-profits in Belgium are still not compliant with the Ultimate Business Owner (UBO) register, which is required of them ...
Increase in tax exemption for donations in Belgium fails to meet expectations
The increase from 45% to 60% in the tax exemption for donations, decided by the former federal government in June 2020, has cost Belgium more than ...
Sex workers in Belgium to get more social rights protection
The social rights of sex workers will soon be better protected in Belgium, Belga News Agency reports. The Council of Ministers has approved a draft ...