Britain's Boris Johnson summons ministers over new Covid-19 variant: Report

Shoppers on Regent Street in London, Britain, Dec 17, 2020. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

LONDON (REUTERS) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called senior ministers to an unscheduled meeting on Friday evening (Dec 18) to discuss how to contain a new, more virulent variant of the coronavirus, The Telegraph newspaper reported.

An emergency toughening of Covid-19 restrictions could be announced as soon as Saturday, possibly including restrictions on travel between the south-east of England, including London, and the rest of the country, the newspaper said.

A spokesman for the prime minister said he was unable to comment on the report immediately.

Britain's government on Monday said a rise in new infections might be partly linked to the new variant as it moved its capital city and other areas into the highest tier of Covid-19 restrictions.

The Telegraph also reported on Friday that government officials expected the AstraZeneca-Oxford University Covid-19 vaccine would clear regulatory approval on Dec 28 or 29, helping to accelerate the vaccination campaign.

Johnson said on Friday he hoped that England would not need to go into a third lockdown after Christmas.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.