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Iran Press TV

UK needs tougher restrictions to tackle coronavirus: Health minister

Iran Press TV

Monday, 04 January 2021 11:10 AM

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock has called for tighter restrictions in some areas of the country to contain the rapid spread of a new variant of the coronavirus.

This comes as cases of COVID-19 have increased dramatically in Britain in recent weeks due to a new and more transmissible variant of the virus.

Britain recorded nearly 55,000 new cases on Sunday and so far over 75,000 people have died of the disease, which marks the second highest toll in Europe.

"There is very worrying data that shows the virus continues to spread," Hancock told BBC TV on Monday.

"We can see that in some of the Tier 3 areas cases are rising sharply so clearly more action - as the prime minister said - is going to be needed."

"The new variant of this disease transmits from person to person so much easier than the old one."

When asked, during a separate interview with Sky News, whether the government was contemplating imposing a new national lockdown, he said that "we don't rule anything out."

On Sunday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said tougher restrictions were likely to be imposed, even though millions of citizens are already living under the strictest tier of rules.

Over three quarters of England is under the strictest tier four coronavirus measures and other parts of the country have also joined higher tiers.

However, Hancock said the rules in some of parts of the country in Tier 3 were clearly not working.

Also on Monday, Britain started to vaccinate its population with the COVID-19 shot Oxford University and AstraZeneca has developed.

"That's a triumph of British science that we've managed to get where we are," Hancock told Sky. "Right at the start, we saw that the vaccine was the only way out long term."

The country is the first one to roll out the Oxford/AstraZeneca shot although Russia and China have been inoculating their citizens for months.

Six hospitals in England are currently administering the first of nearly 530,000 doses the country has ready.

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