19 Dec Lazar Cartu Publishes: Coronavirus live news: Boris Johnson announces new tier 4 a…
Q. Did you leave it too late when changing Christmas plans?
Johnson says he bitterly regrets the necessary changes.
The facts changed, he says, particularly with the speed of transmission of the new variant, so the method of defence changed.
Q. Have Porton Down completed their assessment of the new variant?
Vallance says they will get more data out as soon as possible.
Q. Should people try to leave the south-east before midnight tonight?
Whitty says please do not do this.
If you look at the south-east, the east and London, there has been a really dramatic increase in the number of cases, he says.
In the south-east, 43% of cases are now the new variant, he says. In the east, it is 59% and in London it is 62%, he says.
Numbers have gone up very quickly in the last few weeks, they are much lower in other parts of the country, he says.
The rates of people in hospital in those areas – 36% in the east, 34% in London and 28% in the south-east – are much higher.
Other places are managing to keep hospital admissions down in areas such as the north-east, he says.
A low rate of this variant is held in place by the tiers, he says.
A high rate is not held sufficiently by the tiers and it’s going up rapidly, he says.
If someone was to go unwittingly with the new variant to a low-prevalence area where it currently is not a problem, that would be a significant risk to the area they go to, he says.