A SHOCKING new Covid graphic has today revealed the dramatic surge in the 'new' virus strains in UK in the last four weeks.
Matt Hancock today announced another string of areas across the UK would be put into Tier 4 lockdown as the deadly bug continues to spread.
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The rapid rise in the mutant variant has seen a surge in Covid-19 cases and hospitalisations and is behind the new Tier 4 restrictions – with the Health Secretary saying it was spreading at a "dangerous rate".
Authorities have said the new variant is 70% more infectious than the previous strain.
In a graphic released by the government today, the new variant can be seen to be responsible for a growing number of people testing positive for coronavirus.
Cases are up 57 per cent across the UK in just a week, thanks to the increased spread, while hospital admissions have soared.
Meanwhile the initial strain has started to decrease.
It comes as…
- An additional six million people will be in Tier 4 of the Government's Covid-19 restrictions from Boxing Day
- Matt Hancock said we cannot have the Christmas we all "yearned for"
- Yet another new strain of coronavirus has been found from South Africa
- Anyone who has travelled from South Africa in the last 2 weeks MUST quarantine immediately
- Find out which Tier you are in here
The new strain's scientific name is VUI 2020/01, with VUI standing for Variant Under Investigation.
Oxfordshire, Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire will be put into even tighter restrictions as a result of the mutant Covid – as Mr Hancock also announced an even MORE infectious new South African strain has been found in the UK.
Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Northamptonshire will go into Tier 3 too, and Cornwall and Hereforshire will be bumped up from Tier 1 to 2.
An additional six million people will be in Tier 4 of the Government's Covid-19 restrictions from Boxing Day.
This means a total of 24 million people will now be in Tier 4, or 43 per cent of the population of England.
And Mr Hancock announced two cases have been detected of another new strain of the coronavirus in the UK.
He said: "Both are contacts of cases who have travelled from South Africa over the past few weeks."
He added: "We are incredibly grateful to the South African government for the rigour of their science and the openness and the transparency with which they have rightly acted as we did when we discovered a new variant here."
Mr Hancock continued: "This new variant is highly concerning because it is yet more transmissible and it appears to have mutated further than the new variant that has been discovered in the UK."
The Health Secretary said both cases and close contacts of the cases have been quarantined, there are immediate restrictions on travel from South Africa and the Government is telling those who have been in contact with anyone who has been in South Africa in the last fortnight that they must quarantine.
He added: "These measures are temporary while we investigate further this new strain which is shortly to be analysed at Porton Down."
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