Home / News / World /  UK health minister suggests tougher COVID-19 measures may last for some time

London: British health minister Matt Hancock suggested on Sunday that new tighter restrictions in London and southeast England could stay in place for some time, saying a new variant of the coronavirus that has emerged is very difficult to control.

Asked whether people living under the stringent tier 4 restrictions should expect to do so for some time, Hancock told Sky News: "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."

"There will be a vote in parliament on these rules in January," he added.

"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."

He also said that the UK government plans to have around half a million vaccinated by end of the weekend.

In terms of the current restrictions, Hancock added," Everyone in a tier 4 area must act as if they have the virus."

"It was totally irresponsible behaviour to travel after new restrictions announced," he said.

"We made the commitment on Christmas without knowing there would be a new variant," he added.

"The new strain was out of control, we need to get it under control by reducing social contact."

On the ongoing vaccination drive in the UK, which began last week, the British health minister said that the vaccine roll out is going well.

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