New variant of SARS-CoV-2 in UK causes surge of COVID-19

11 Jan, 2021
For most of November, 2020, England was in lockdown to force down the incidence of COVID-19 cases that had steadily increased in the late summer and autumn. Other countries in the UK (Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland) had also been reimposing and subsequently lifting restrictions, since each of the four nations is in charge of its own COVID-19 control plans.
For a while, the strategy in England appeared to have worked, with many areas that previously had high case incidence seeing rates drop sharply in November, including northwest England and Yorkshire, areas which had previously seen some of the highest incidence rates in the UK. However, it soon became apparent that the English lockdown had not had the same effect in every region. In Kent, a large county in the southeast, cases actually continued to increase during the lockdown, despite having the same restrictions as other regions. When, on Dec 2, 2020, England lifted its lockdown and moved back into a three-level tiered restrictions system, cases continued to increase sharply in Kent and then rapidly in Greater London and other parts of the southeast. And despite the approval of two vaccines in recent weeks, the UK now faces a race against time to vaccinate as many vulnerable and elderly people as possible.

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