Mutant Covid strain 'has already spread to every other region of the UK' as Brits warned not to leave Tier 4 lockdown

THE new mutated form of Covid sweeping London and the South East is already in every other region of the UK, a public health leader has warned.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and England's top doctor Chris Whitty have begged people living in Tier 4 not to leave the area and spread the high velocity bug to other parts of Britain.

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The new Covid strain is said to be around 70 per cent more infectious than its original form and has sparked rocketing case numbers across London and the South East.

But Dr Susan Hopkins said every other part of the region has had cases detected in small numbers and risk seeing a similar explosion if infections are allowed to spread further.

She told Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday: “It has been detected in many other parts of the country.

“Every region has cases but with very small numbers.

“It has also been detected in Wales, in Scotland, we have not had any detected in Northern Ireland.”

Full list of areas in Tier 4

HERE is the full list of areas in Tier 4.

  • Kent
  • Buckinghamshire
  • Berkshire
  • Surrey (excluding Waverley)
  • The boroughs of Gosport, Havant, Portsmouth, Rother and Hastings
  • All 32 London boroughs and the city of London.
  • Bedford, Central Bedfordshire, Milton Keynes, Luton, Peterborough
  • Hertfordshire
  • Essex (excluding Colchester, Uttlesford and Tendring).

Professor Chris Whitty last night begged people to stay at home yesterday evening as the rules were unveiled, warning: "If you have packed a bag, unpack it."

Yet within hours there were long queues of traffic on roads out of London and chaotic crushes at railway terminals as people fled to avoid the brutal new restrictions.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock today slammed the scenes – sighing as he was shown footage of the busy travel terminals.

He said: "This was clearly totally irresponsible behaviour."

And he cautioned: "Everybody, particularly people in Tier 4 areas, needs to behave as if they might well have the virus – that is the only way we are going to get it under control."

Later appearing on the The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, he added: "We have all got a responsibility.

"We in Government of course have a responsibility, but so does every single person.

"The plea that I have is that people will play their part, because it is only by acting, all of us, that we can get this under control."

British Transport Police are now expected to deploy additional officers to ensure only essential journeys are taking place.

Last night in St Pancras station, hundreds of people were filmed rushing towards barriers to board the trains leaving the capital.

Similar frantic scenes were pictured at Paddington station and King's Cross.

Traffic on the A40 leaving London was jammed in the hours after Mr Johnson's bombshell announcement.

A British Transport Police spokesperson said: “As has been the case throughout the pandemic our officers will continue to be highly-visible, patrolling services and stations on the rail network in tier 4 locations and nationwide throughout the Christmas period.

"Officers will continue supporting rail staff in engaging with passengers and reminding those who do need to travel to wear face coverings.

"We hope that the public will continue to act responsibly and play their part in helping to protect themselves, and each other, by following the guidance and restrictions set out by the Government, as well as complying with the requirement to wear face coverings.”


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