Hancock said “Over the last few days, thanks to our world-class genomic capability in the UK, we have identified a new variant of coronavirus which may be associated with the fastest spread in the south-east of England. Initial analysis suggests that this variant is growing faster than the existing variance. We’ve currently identified over 1,000 cases with this variant, predominantly in the south of England, although cases have been identified in nearly 60 different local authority areas and numbers are increasing rapidly”.
He also added “I must stress at this point that there is currently nothing to suggest that this variant is more likely to cause serious disease and the latest clinical advice is that it’s highly unlikely that this mutation would fail to respond to a vaccine. But it shows we’ve got to be vigilant and follow the rules and everyone needs to take personal responsibility not to spread this virus.”
Meanwhile Indoor cinemas, theatres and concert halls need to be closed to visitors in tier 3. Existing tier 2 restrictions, social mixing between households is banned indoors unless a support or childcare bubble exists. The rule of six applies in some outdoor areas, such as public parks. It is recommended that people should minimise travel both to and within a tier 3 area, unless it is necessary, as Hancock has said.