COVID-19: Trump slams against Christmas restrictions

President Donald Trump slams UK's decision to impose new lockdown restrictions ahead of Christmas after detection of new dangerous strain of coronavirus in England, sparking fear new surge in US. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday announced London and parts of southeast England will go into 'Tier 4 lockdown' - the highest level of the UK's coronavirus alert system - starting at midnight. 

 The strict new measures, which affects 18million people, means all non-essential businesses must close and residents must stay at home until December 30, when officials will review the situation. 

 With the surge of new cases in the area which the doctors believe is as a result of a fast-moving new type of COVID that is more than 70 per cent more transmissible than existing strains and may have already reached other countries. 

 Although it is not believed to be more fatal, the mutant strain has raised fears of a potential outbreak in the US, which is already grappling with record-breaking rates of hospitalizations and virus-related deaths. 

 President Trump on Saturday however made it clear the US would not be following suit with Johnson's decision. 'We don't want to have lockdowns. 

The cure cannot be worse than the problem itself!' Trump said in a tweet replying to the news. The president has repeatedly expressed he is against imposing another nationwide lockdown for the sake of the economy and struggling businesses.

 Trump has been widely criticized over his response to the pandemic, which has now claimed the lives of more than 300,000 Americans and infected nearly 17.5million. 

 Britain's Chief Scientific Officer Patrick Vallance on Saturday said the new virus strain triggered a surge in cases in England in the last two weeks and may have already made its way to other areas. 

 'This virus has taken off, it's moving fast and it's leading inevitably to a sharp increase in hospital admissions,' Vallance said. 

 'We think it may be in other countries as well. It may have started here, we don't know for sure.' News of the fast-spreading new strain comes after the UK and the US began rolling out its first batch of COVID-19 vaccines this week. 

 But Vallance said there was no sign so far that the mutation would be able to nullify the effects of vaccination. 

 Other countries have also reported variants of the virus. South Africa said on Friday one such strain was driving a second wave of infections there, Reuters reported. 

 

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