London placed into very high alert level after new virus strain detected

London and parts of eastern England have been placed into the toughest level of anti-coronavirus restrictions by the British government, news wires reported. Health Secretary Matt Hancock told parliament on Monday that from 0001 GMT on Wednesday the city of London, the Greater London area, the south and west of eastern county of Essex and southern parts of the south-western county of Hertfordshire would enter Tier 3, which means very high alert.

Residents in Tier 3 are not allowed to socialize with others indoors or most places outdoors unless they live with them, and pubs and restaurants will only allow takeaway services.

Hancock added that a new strand of Covid-19 had been discovered in Britain, which led cases of the virus to "increase rapidly" in the south-east of England. Over 1,000 cases of the mutation have been identified in England over the past week, largely in the newly locked down region of the country.

It is "highly unlikely" that the new variant, which is still being studied, will reduce the impact of the new vaccine being rolled out against Covid-19, he said.

More on this subject: Coronavirus

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