UK is locking down due to new COVID-19 variant

A more contagious variant of the coronavirus has been detected in the United Kingdom, leading the nation’s leadership to enact new lockdown protocols to curb its spread.
5:25 | 12/21/20

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Transcript for UK is locking down due to new COVID-19 variant
London is back in lockdown as a UK fights a new strain of the virus. Over the weekend train station and airports in the United Kingdom were packed with people trying to get out before travel bans to the fact. Now more than a dozen countries have banned travel to and from the UK James Longman is in London with more. Britain is sounding the alarm this morning a river in new variant of that nineteen prime minister Boris Johnson with an emergency address to the nation that is prime minister it's my duty to take. Difficult decisions. To do what is right to protect. The people of this country he had promised the UK would be back to normal in time for Christmas but now much of Britain including London is looking down for the holidays. For 21 million people only essential businesses remain open scientists say the new variant spreads up to 70% fall stood than the original virus. Importantly health experts warn mutations of any virus are expected. It has nothing to suggest this is more deadly but an increase in spread tells threaten health services. Scientists have been aware of the new variant for some time but Johnson's announcement triggered a rush south of the capital jamming train stations and highways. Britain is slowly being sealed off. Belgium Italy and the Netherlands among those banning travel. Overnight Canada restricted inbound flights from the UK the French suspension or even shut down the Eurotunnel and the UK's main port. Threatening food supplies. Now New York governor Andrew Cuomo is calling for similar action in the United States. Right now this is very intense in the UK he is getting on a plane. And lying to JFK. Today 120 countries demand that before you get on the flight into UK. To come to their country. You have to have tested negative. The United States does not require. This is reprehensible. Because this is what happened in this break. You'll get Boortz have on average six flights coming from London every day. The epicenter of the new variant. Now this new variant has been detected in a number of other countries as well which is. Consenting but I think it's really important to point out that there is no evidence to suggest that any of the new vaccines that are being developed and rolled out. Wouldn't work against this new variant Diane. And James prime minister Boris Johnson is holding an emergency meeting in the UK what do we know. About that meeting in how concerned are people there. Dead Diane I think basically. The prime minister that. Probably didn't expect this kind of fallout from. His announcement people all concerned I think we soar up a kind of a rush to get out of London as soon as this announcement was met as was made. Originally the prime minister in the government had promised people that they would be able to spend Christmas together it was going to be a five day period between 23 the 27. During which Rea restrictions would be relaxed say this kind of you time meant that. Its premiere in London anyway there was a mass exodus so people kind of lining up at train stations. Packed almost a waste finding out of the countries of the husband a degree of panic. I think that comic is spreads around the world I'm full scene I think by this government announced what. Boris Johnson and his aides will be discussing and not meeting today just how you're. Relationship without isn't. He was gonna go what's gonna happen with this I'm going forward the most significant bounds of course is with prawns this is a country which we all. Obviously Jay gravity very close David economically tied with in in such an important way 20% of a trade. Comes out of fronds and ahead of the Christmas period there's concern about food shortages sec what with a government do to try to mend that relationship. But what we know currently about the virus this new variant is an exists here in London in certain parts of the southeast. It tells spreads much quicker that's what I'm sciences is saying plummeting more deadly. But it does spread much more quickly so the idea is of course try to make so people stay behind but if they lose trust in the government and its messaging. Then it's very unfair whether Arnold people are gonna continue to want to do that we don't know how much so long ago we're going to have to do not important need a health secretary. Mentioned even Huntington's or stay home until the vaccine is property rolled out says an extraordinary uncertain time for Britain of the moment Diane. And James received a fair amount of skepticism about everything to do with this pandemic here in the US and other UK has had that as well they've seems even with this. It seems real large amount of skepticism among the British public. I think it doesn't set amount of skepticism from a certain portion of people on tee boxes we've got them here in Britain and eagle and there is over that. In the United States there was skepticism about vaccine because of them some speed in which it was rolled out. I'm not now is basically seeping into everything as you say I think that's because of the kind of level of trust. In the government's. I'm kind of its strategy because it does seem to change a loss of the time when one minute the government says that that adamant that Christmas will go ahead. Boris so such as that it would be in human. Two council Christmas and then days late. So because ahead and essentially councils at them for months in the country thought sends a confusing message to people particularly because it's unclear. How long the government she known. That this strain was circulating in the population Diana and still a lot of questions there James Bond when we appreciate it thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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