The UK has recorded its highest ever daily rise in coronavirus infections, with 35,928 new Covid-19 cases reported on Sunday December 20, as the new Covid strain causes a 94.8 percent rise in infections.
This brings the total number of coronavirus cases in the UK to more than 2.04 million.
A further 326 deaths within 28 days of a positive test for the virus were also announced on Sunday, taking the UK’s death toll to 67,401.
The new strain – called ‘VUI – 202012/01’ – is 70 percent more infectious and makes up 60 percent of London’s new cases, Boris Johnson revealed on Saturday.
He also warned that the strain could increase the crucial R rate by 0.4.
The government has also introduced toughened restrictions in London and the southeast of England to try to curb the spread of a new, fast-spreading variant of the virus, while Wales has entered another national lockdown.
Nicola Sturgeon has banned travel in and out of Scotland.
Matt Hancock, the health secretary, said the decision to put millions into an effective lockdown under tier 4 measures was taken rapidly after evidence showed the new strain was responsible for spiralling cases.
The move was followed by several EU nations halting flights coming from Britain over concerns about the new Covid-19 strain known as VUI 202012/01, with Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and Italy all announcing restrictions on UK travel.