Jan 24, 2021 13:41 UTC
  • Britain still a long way from easing virus lockdown

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Sunday the country was still a long way from being able to relax a national lockdown despite evidence that the restrictions were bringing down the rate of COVID-19 infections.

“There is early evidence that the lockdown is starting to bring cases down. But we’re a long, long, long way from that from being low enough because the case rate was incredibly high and you can see the pressure on the NHS (National Health Service),” he said during an interview on Sky News.

UK has 77 cases of South African COVID variant, nine of Brazilian

Hancock said on Sunday that 77 cases of the South African variant of COVID-19 had been found in the United Kingdom, all of them connected to travel from South Africa and under close observation.

Hancock also said there was a very low number of cases of the Brazilian variant, 9 at the latest count, and those were also being closely monitored.

“There are 77 known cases of the South African variant here in the UK,” Hancock said on BBC television.

“They are under very close observation, and we have enhanced contact tracing to do everything we possibly can to stop them from spreading,” he said, adding that all the known cases were people who had travelled from South Africa or had contact with someone else who had done so.

UK to quarantine visitors from nations with high COVID-19 risk

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government is preparing to force travelers from countries where there is a high risk of COVID-19 to go into quarantine for 10 days after arriving in Britain, the Daily Mail reported on Saturday.

Travelers from Brazil and South Africa, and neighboring countries, will be met on arrival and escorted to hotels to quarantine, under plans being discussed by UK ministers, the Daily Mail said.

Johnson favoured a more targeted approach than making all air passengers go into quarantine, said the report, which added that the quarantine decision would be taken on Monday.

Britain has recorded more than 3.5 million COVID-19 infections - the fifth-highest in the world - and nearly 96,000 deaths.

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