UK medical officer: Various new viruses spread faster

LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson held emergency talks with his Cabinet on Saturday as government scientific advisers said a new version of the coronavirus was accelerating the spread of disease.
England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty said that based on initial modeling data and rapidly rising frequency levels in the south of England, the government’s virus advisory group believes the new strain can spread more quickly.
There is no evidence to suggest that the new snoring is more lethal or that it affects vaccines and medications, he said.
“We have issued a warning to the World Health Organization and continue to analyze the available data to advance our understanding,” Whitty said in a statement.
The British health secretary reported on the new virus this week, saying it is believed to be linked to a rapid rise in Covid-19 cases in the south and south-east of England. Whitty said it was identified by the nation’s public health agency through genomic analysis.
The highest case rates in England are now in London. Most of the south of England entered the highest level of coronavirus restrictions in the country’s tripartite alarm system on Saturday. Under Stage 3 rules, people cannot communicate internally, and restaurants and pubs can only offer takeaway services. Shops are still open, however.
The government had planned to ban social contact from Dec. 23 to Dec. 27 to allow people to travel and celebrate Christmas with family and friends, but a rest of rules that are expected to raise concerns are growing because diseases are already rampant in many places.
Johnson held an unorganized meeting Friday night to discuss the latest evidence about the mutant strain with officials. He refused to dispel the notion that England would have a third national lock.
Wales and Northern Ireland, which have their own devolved governments and independent rules to control the virus, have already announced locks after Christmas.