LONDON (AP) — Thousands and thousands of individuals within the U.Ok. confronted powerful new coronavirus restrictions Saturday, with Scotland and Northern Eire demanding tighter measures to attempt to halt a brand new variant of the virus that’s believed to unfold extra rapidly.
Northern Eire went right into a six-week lockdown and in Wales, restrictions that have been relaxed for Christmas Day have been additionally re-imposed.
The variety of folks underneath England’s prime stage of restrictions — Tier 4 — elevated by 6 million on Saturday to 24 million folks general, round 43% of England’s inhabitants. The area included London and plenty of of its surrounding areas.
No indoor mixing of households is allowed, and solely important journey permitted. Gyms, swimming pools, hairdressers and shops promoting nonessential items have been ordered to shut and pubs and eating places can solely do takeout. Enterprise teams say the restrictions shall be economically devastating to their members.
One other 570 day by day deaths from COVID-19 have been reported, bringing Britain’s whole demise toll to 70,195, the second-worst demise toll in Europe after Italy. Britain additionally reported greater than 32,700 new instances of the illness on Christmas Day.
Fears concerning the U.Ok.’s new variant have sparked per week of border chaos. Round 1,000 British troopers spent Christmas Day attempting to clear an enormous backlog of vehicles stranded in southeast England after France briefly closed its border to the U.Ok. and demanded coronavirus checks from all drivers.
However Britain’s Transport Secretary Grant Shapps mentioned Saturday that greater than 15,000 drivers had been examined and that the backlog at a testing website at Manston Airport was cleared by Sunday morning. Solely 36 optimistic checks had been reported, he mentioned on Twitter.
“A large THANK YOU to everybody who’s labored tirelessly over the previous few days to cut back the massive disruption attributable to the sudden French border closure,” Shapps tweeted.
The primary instances of the U.Ok.’s new variant have now been detected in France and Spain. A French man residing in England arrived in France on Dec. 19 and examined optimistic for the brand new variant Friday, the French public well being company mentioned. He has no signs and is isolating at his residence within the central metropolis of Excursions.
In the meantime, well being authorities within the Madrid area mentioned that they had confirmed the U.Ok. variant in 4 folks, all of whom are in good well being. Regional well being chief Enrique Ruiz Escudero mentioned the brand new pressure had arrived when an contaminated individual flew into Madrid’s airport.
In her annual Christmas handle, Queen Elizabeth II, who has spent a lot of the yr isolating at Windsor Fortress together with her husband Prince Philip, delivered a heartfelt message of hope praising the “indomitable spirit” of those that have risen “magnificently” to the challenges of the pandemic.
The 94-year-old queen and her 99-year-old husband Prince Philip have been setting an instance by not visiting relations as normal over Christmas.
Observe AP’s protection at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic, https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
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