London—The day after Christmas, as officials in France and other European countries reported their first case of this mutated, possibly more infectious strain, the day after Christmas, the UK woke up on Saturday To strengthen restrictions on the coronavirus.
Swathes in England is subject to the strictest lockdown rules, called the “4th floor”, which will result in the closure of gyms, movie theaters, hairdressers and most shops. People will also be restricted to meeting another person from another family in an outdoor public place.
Since last week, the British capital, London, has been living under the “Level 4”
From Saturday, the number of people living in England’s “Level 4” will increase by 6 million to 24 million, or more than 40% of the population.
Scotland has its own hierarchical system, which has moved most of the mainland to the highest level for three consecutive weeks starting on Saturday, while Northern Ireland has imposed a six-week strict restriction, including some curfews. Wales is still under national blockade.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, on Christmas Day, the total number of Covid-19 deaths in the United Kingdom exceeded 70,000, and reportedly exceeded 2 million.
The rule came into effect less than 24 hours after Queen Elizabeth II delivered a message of hope in her annual national television broadcast Christmas speech.
“Of course, for many people, this time of year is full of sadness; some mourn the loss of loved ones, and some missing friends and family members are alienated for safety, and the Christmas they really want is just a A simple hug or squeeze, said the 94-year-old monarch.
She added that she was “proud and touched” by the country’s “quiet and unyielding spirit”.
Throughout the English Channel, French health authorities confirmed the country’s first mutation of the virus, prompting the United Kingdom to adopt strict blockade measures.
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The French public health agency said in a statement that a French man arrived in France from London on December 19 and tested the new variant on Friday.
The statement said he had no symptoms and was isolated at his home in the center of Tours. In addition, the authorities are tracking his contact information, and the laboratory is analyzing tests from other people who may have the new model.
Health officials in these countries said the new strain was also found in Sweden, Japan, Ireland and Spain. Earlier last week, it was discovered as far away as Denmark, Iceland and Australia.
Elsewhere in Europe, Russia’s number of coronavirus cases on Saturday exceeded the 3 million mark for the first time.
According to data from the Robert Koch Institute of Infectious Diseases, the number of infections in Germany is on the rise, with an increase of 14,455 cases to 1,627,103.
As the pandemic continues to spread across the European continent, EU countries including France, Germany and Italy will begin mass vaccination on Sunday and begin using Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Reuters contributed to this report.