British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday the government had been forced to impose tougher restrictions on parts of England because of the "sheer pace" of the spread of a new COVID-19 variant.
More areas of England will be placed under a higher tier of lockdown restrictions, including several areas that would move to tier 4, the highest level.
Johnson also urged people to follow health rules and “see in the New Year safely at home” to contain the outbreak.
The prime minister hailed news that the U.K. became the first country in the world to approve the AstraZeneca vaccine, which was developed in the U.K., for use.
"We will have millions of doses, tens of millions of doses by the end of March,” he said, speaking about the U.K.’s vaccination program, which now has two usable vaccines after Pfizer’s approval earlier this month.
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