UK tells residents to stay home for New Year’s Eve celebrations as coronavirus surges

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The British government is ramping up its COVID-19 warnings by telling residents to celebrate New Year’s Eve at home to avoid the spread of the virus and the potential to contract an even more contagious strain.

Health officials are advising the public to act as if they already have COVID-19 to stop the massive spread of the virus.

“With our [National Health Service] under pressure we must all take personal responsibility this New Year’s Eve and stay at home,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock said in a statement Wednesday. “I know how much we have all sacrificed this year and we cannot let up.”

Seventy-eight percent of the United Kingdom’s population is now under the strictest tier four pandemic measures, which forbids mixed household gatherings and closes nonessential businesses.

Health ministry officials have said they expect the rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine to begin to return life to normalcy by the spring, while warning that the upcoming weeks could be the most difficult time of the pandemic yet.

A new variant of COVID-19 first discovered by researchers in the U.K. has driven daily case rates and hospitalizations to record high levels. More people are now being hospitalized in the U.K. compared with the first wave of the pandemic in the spring.

Tags Coronavirus disease COVID-19 Global health New Year's Eve Pandemic U.K.

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