Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Wednesday evening. We’ll have another update for you on Thursday morning.
Millions more people in the east and south east of England are to enter tier four on Boxing Day, the health secretary has announced. The places moving into the highest level of restrictions – which include a “stay at home” order – border the areas already in tier four. A number of areas in England will also move up into tiers three and two. Matt Hancock said the old tiering system was not enough to control the new variant of the virus. You can find out more about the rules in the different tiers in our explainer.
It’s emerged that two cases of another “more transmissible” variant of coronavirus have been detected in the UK. Speaking at a Downing Street press conference today, the health secretary said both people had travelled to South Africa, where the variant has been linked to a surge in cases. The government has imposed travel restrictions on the country. Anyone who has been there in the past fortnight, and anyone they have been in contact with, has been told to quarantine immediately.