The British government will make a decision today on imposing the strictest COVID-19 lockdown as a variant of the virus continues to spread, a minister said.

Britain had a record number of new infections, 36,804 on Tuesday, resulting in a hike in hospital admissions.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said the government’s COVID-19 operations committee, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the chair, would decide on further actions needed to be taken.

The meeting would review the situation made grim by the COVID-19 variant, he added.

However, Jenrick said there was “absolutely no plan” to change rules for Christmas Day gathering for people all over England, especially London and surrounding areas.

When asked about harsher measures on the day after Christmas on Dec. 26, he rejected the impression that there was an immediate plan to take action. But, he added, the number of cases was on the rise and the variant was spreading to other parts of the country.

On Saturday, tight social mixing restrictions measures were brought in for London, southeast England and Wales while plans to ease curbs over Christmas across the nation were either dramatically scaled back or scrapped altogether. Meanwhile, the mutated strain of the coronavirus, which could be up to 70% more transmissible than the original, playing havoc in the country.

Similarly, the coronavirus pandemic is still out of control in France and a new lockdown could be slapped. The head of the infectious diseases unit at Paris’ Saint-Antoine hospital, Karine Lacombe, admitted that “the epidemic is by no means under control.”

Health experts fear that the Christmas holidays could result in a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in France and Europe. On Tuesday, France had reported 802 more deaths due to coronavirus in the last 24 hours, and another 11,795 confirmed cases.


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