The number of new cases of coronavirus infection detected per day in the UK was 39.2 thousand, which was the highest figure since the beginning of the pandemic. According to data published on Wednesday on the website of government information, the anti-record is fixed in the kingdom for the second day in a row.
A day earlier, more than 36.8 thousand cases of infection were registered in the country. The number of deaths in the last 24 hours was 744 (up from 691 on Tuesday), the highest daily increase since April 29. In total, more than 69 thousand people died in the UK, which is the second-largest figure in Europe after Italy. The number of detected infections has exceeded 2.14 million.
The increase in the incidence of COVID-19 in the kingdom is associated with the identification of a new, mutated version of the coronavirus, which was announced on December 14 by the head of the Ministry of Health Matt Hancock. According to him, preliminary analysis shows that it is spreading faster than previously known strains. At an emergency press conference on December 19, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the new type of coronavirus could be 70% more infectious, adding that British experts have not yet found evidence that it leads to more mortality.
A new variant of the coronavirus is beginning to dominate the number of detected cases of infection — in London, the south-east of England and Wales, it now accounts for the majority of new cases. This forces the authorities to take tough measures aimed at fighting the infection. At the same time, more than 50 countries, including most of the EU countries, Russia, Australia, Argentina, Canada, and Turkey, announced that they would temporarily suspend passenger flights with the UK. At the same time, the expert of the World Health Organization Maria van Kerkhove said that the mutated variant was identified in the south-east of England in September and later spread to Denmark, the Netherlands, and Australia.
On Wednesday, Hancock announced the tightening of coronavirus restrictions almost throughout the south-east of England, announced the discovery of another new strain of coronavirus in the country, which was imported from South Africa. The head of the British Ministry of Health clarified that the South African variety is transmitted even faster than the variant of the virus previously identified in the kingdom.
At the same time, as Hancock noted, the authorities in the fight against the pandemic are pinning their hopes on the vaccination program for the population, which began on December 8. The first to be able to receive the drug will be medical workers, people living in nursing homes, and people over 80 years old. To date, more than 500 thousand patients have been vaccinated in the kingdom, where 66 million people live.