Govt aware latest lockdown could have ‘severe’ impact on British economy — UK health minister

The economic impact of fresh restrictions introduced by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson amid a rapidly spreading new coronavirus strain are expected to be very severe, admits British Health Minister Matt Hancock.

Hancock suggested that the tighter measures in several parts of the UK could stay in place for some time, as the new variant of the coronavirus that has recently emerged is very difficult to handle.

“We really need to get this under control. We’ve got a long way to go to sort this, essentially we’ve got to get that vaccine rolled out to keep people safe,” the health minister said.

READ MORE: ‘Can’t have Christmas as planned’: BoJo tells London, Southeast & Peterborough to STAY HOME over rapid spread of new Covid strain

“Given how much faster this new variant spreads, it’s going to be very difficult to keep it under control until we have the vaccine rolled out.”

On Saturday, the British PM announced tougher restrictions in England with a new Tier 4: ‘Stay at Home’ alert level for London, the southeast and the city of Peterborough. The measure bars people from meeting family and friends from other households over Christmas.

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The health minister added that the government was planning to have half a million people vaccinated by the end of the weekend, urging residents of Tier 4 areas to act as if they have the virus and restrict social contact.

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