The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had a teleconference with ministers of his government on Saturday, who will give a press conference at 18.00 Greek time, against the background of the increase in cases in the United Kingdom.
England Health Chief Chris Whitney said that although there was no evidence at the moment that a variant of the new coronavirus had caused a higher mortality rate in Britain, urgent investigations were under way to confirm whether or not this was the case.
“We have alerted the World Health Organization and are continuing to analyze the data available to improve our understanding,” he said. “The NERVTAG Advisory Group on Youth and Emerging Threats (NERVTAG) currently believes that the new strain can spread faster,” he said.
The government said Monday that the increase in cases in London and the south-east of England may be linked to a new, more contagious variant of the virus. On Friday, the country recorded 28,507 new cases of COVID-19 and 489 deaths, with the R index estimated between 1.1 and 1.2.
Mr Johnson said on Friday he hoped England would not have to enter a third lockdown after Christmas, but scientists have warned that urgent action is needed to curb the virus.
Much of the country, including London, is currently at the highest level of a three-tier system aimed at stopping the spread. The Daily Telegraph reports that ministers may now announce travel restrictions between the south-east of England, including the capital, and the rest of the country.