Boris Johnson ‘could introduce new travel rules’ to stop new mutant Covid strain

Boris Johnson and his ministers are tonight considering further festive restrictions in an effort to combat a new mutant strain of Covid-19 impacting London and the South East.

Reports suggest the Prime Minister could make a new announcement tomorrow regarding the mutation of the virus, which is estimated to be up to 50 per cent more contagious.

A government source told The Sun: “What we do not know yet is whether the new strain is more or less likely to cause you harm, but what we have learnt is that it will pass to person to person much more easily and that is what we are really worried about.”

It could be too late to change the law on Christmas bubbles, however Mr Johnson could strengthen advice around travelling in and out of the capital and the home counties, it is suggested.

Another source told the paper tonight: “This is a live and fluid situation but it’s not looking good and we have to act fast.”

It comes as the government were warned the current tier system is not enough to control the spread of coronavirus.

Independent Sage members said the measures are not effective enough and have varying effects in different regions.

While one member of the group, chaired by former chief scientific adviser Sir David King, said the Government was not proactive enough.

Dr Kit Yates, senior lecturer in the department of mathematical sciences at the University of Bath, said: “I think the tiers at the moment are clearly not enough.

“Tier 2 is not enough to do anything almost anywhere, Tier 3 is enough to bring cases down in some regions, but not in others.”

He added there are differences between different regions in terms of their population density and their demographics which change how people mix with each other.

Dr Yates said: “One rule isn’t going to be sufficient to bring cases down in every single region.

“I think there are other reasons why cases might be rising. Particularly at the moment I think the vaccine coming online has meant people perhaps relaxed a little bit, and have decided to let their guard down because they can see this light at the end of the tunnel.

“I think the Government’s messaging around Christmas, suggesting that it’s okay to meet up, has meant that a lot of people have relaxed, let their guard down early potentially.

“We see lots of people in crowded shopping streets, and this is clearly not going to help matters.

“I think at the moment that the tiers are just not tight enough, as well as having schools open as well as having outdoor mixing with people.

“But that’s not to say that they won’t be good enough, in a different situation.”

Manchester Evening News