British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has convened an emergency meeting this Saturday with the intention of studying the impact of the new mutated strain of coronavirus discovered earlier this week and which is mainly spreading through London and southeast England.
Because of this, Johnson has announced that some areas of London and the southeast of the country that are currently at alert level three will go to four, which is equivalent to the restrictions introduced in November. This means that stores that sell non-essential items, gyms, cinemas and hair salons will be forced to close for a period of two weeks, while the meeting of one person with another who does not live under the same roof will be authorized. only outdoors.
Likewise, it will not be possible to enter or leave the areas on level four and residents will not be able to spend the night away from home. The new measures will come into force next Monday morning and will be reviewed regularly until December 30, when it is expected that other regulations will be adopted depending on the advance of the virus in the regions.
The authorities indicated that they have already alerted the World Health Organization (WHO) to the discovery of this new strain, which spreads faster, although there is no evidence that it is more lethal or that it may have an impact on effectiveness. of the vaccines developed against COVID-19 is being urgently evaluated for confirmation.
And although the new variant of the virus is concentrated in level 4 areas, Johnson has clarified that it is present throughout the country and that is why he calls for the entire population to stay at home and to "carefully consider if there is a need to Travel abroad". In addition, those who live in areas with level 4, similar to a confinement, will not be allowed to travel abroad, although with "limited exceptions", such as for work.
The "premier" has asked residents of level 4 to work from home, while he has modified the plans for the Christmas period by establishing that those in levels 1, 2 and 3 of restrictions - low, moderate and substantial - can only three groups from different rooftops meet only on the 25th. Until today, these meetings were authorized between December 22 and 28, to give flexibility to families.
England's Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said Saturday that following "preliminary data and the rapid increase in cases in the south-east (of England)," the New Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats (NERVTAG) advisory group ) considers "that the new strain spreads more rapidly". "We have alerted the WHO and we continue to analyze available data to improve our understanding" of the virus, he added. Faced with this situation, "it is now more vital than ever for the population to take measures in their area to reduce transmission," said the medical director.