UK talks about action following new COVID strain test …

* UK says new COVID strain is spreading faster

* Govt to consider urgent action to prevent escalation in cases

* Urgent work to see if new pressures affect mortality rate (Add BBC report)

By Michael Holden

LONDON, December 19 (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke to his prime ministers on Saturday what to do after confirmation that a new snort of the COVID-19 virus could spread more quickly and lead to a rise in cases. .

The BBC said London and the south-east of England would be subject to a new higher set of restrictions and that the government would cut back on planned rest of the rules at Christmas, but did not give in. more information.

Johnson will hold a press conference at around 1600 GMT where he will discuss his plans in response to an increase in infections across London and the south east of England linked to a new, more portable version of the virus.

England’s Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty, said while there was currently no evidence that the variant of the novel coronavirus was causing a higher mortality rate or affecting vaccines, emergency work was underway to to prove this.

“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.

Britain reported 28,507 new COVID-19 cases on Friday and 489 deaths, with the “R” reproduction number between 1.1 and 1.2, meaning the number of cases is rising rapidly.

Johnson said on Friday he hoped England would not need a third lock-up after Christmas and so far opposed calls to change plans to discount for five days over the Christmas period, allowing three families to -leth an indoor meeting.

Much of the country, including London, is currently at the forefront of a three-tier system for preventing the spread of the pandemic. The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported that ministers could now announce loops on travel between the south-east of England, including the capital, and the rest of the country.

The BBC said these areas would now be included in a new “Tier 4”, with tightening rules for Christmas.

“If you don’t take decisive action now, it will mean more suffering,” Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust and a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), said on Twitter. for ourselves ‘are we doing enough, are we working fast enough’. “

The Labor Party said the defense system had not prevented the spread of the virus.

“It has been apparent for some days that the virus is out of control in parts of the country,” said Jonathan Ashworth, a Labor health spokesman. (Additional report by Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Ross Russell, William Maclean, Catherine Evans)

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