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Boris Johnson backtracks on relaxing Christmas

rules after scientists warn new Covid-19 strain is spreading faster

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London (CNN)The hopes of millions of Britons that Covid-19 restrictions would be eased over Christmas were dashed on Saturday, after scientists warned a new strain of the virus is spreading more quickly than others.UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a series of stricter coronavirus restrictions, tightening rules around household mixing that were due to be relaxed over Christmas in England, while leaders in Scotland and Wales also introduced more stringent measures.

The UK has among the highest Covid death rates in Europe, with more than 67,000 fatalities, and over 2 million cases.The PM broke the news that London, and large parts of southern and eastern England, where cases are surging, will enter Tier 4 restrictions, similar to a lockdown, on Sunday.”The spread is being driven by the new variant of the virus,” Johnson said in a hastily called press conference. “It appears to spread more easily and may be up to 70% more transmissable than the earlier strain.”England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, warned Saturdaythat a newly identified variant of Covid-19 “can spread more quickly” than previous strains of the virus.

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