UK detects new variant of coronavirus, much faster than COVID-19

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London : London has moved into the highest level of coronavirus restrictions amid reports of sharply rising coronavirus cases, health minister announced.

The British capital's move into "Tier 3" from 0001 GMT Wednesday will lead to closure of theatres, pubs, dine-in restaurants and other hospitalities.

People have been asked not to socialize with anyone who does not belong to their family. Only six people from a family can meet in public places.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock on Monday announced that London suddenly saw a sharp rise in number of coronavirus cases and noticed a new version of COVID-19 that is spreading faster.

"This action is absolutely essential, not just to keep people safe but because we have seen early action can prevent more damage and longer-term problems later," he told parliament.

In some areas, cases are doubling every seven days, he said, warning: "It only takes a few doublings for the NHS (National Health Service) to be overwhelmed."

Scientists have identified a "new variant" of the virus in the south of England that may be causing infections to spread faster, Hancock added.

But he said: "There's currently nothing to suggest it is more likely to cause serious cases and the latest clinical advice is it is highly unlikely to fail to respond to a vaccine."