Coronavirus: Europe calls for stronger action to contain new virus strain

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The World Health Organization is calling on its members in Europe to strengthen measures against coronavirus due to the new variant circulating in the United Kingdom, its European branch told AFP on Sunday.

Outside Britain, nine cases of the new strain have been reported in Denmark, as well as one case in the Netherlands and another in Australia, according to the WHO. “Across Europe, where transmission is intense and widespread, countries need to redouble their control and prevention approaches,” a spokeswoman for WHO Europe said.

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British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Sunday that the government has imposed a strict Christmas lockdown in London and southeast England because a new strain of the coronavirus was “out of control.”

Hancock warned that the strict measures could stay in place until the virus vaccine is fully rolled out.

“We acted very quickly and decisively,” Hancock told Sky News, justifying the “stay at home” order and closure of non-essential shops affecting around a third of England’s population.

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