Health secretary Matt Hancock told Parliament on Tuesday that the “sharp, exponential rise” of infections in the greater London area, as well as nearby Kent and Essex necessitated to put the regions under the toughest, tier 3, regime from early on Wednesday.
Hancock told the House of Commons that a new strain of the virus could be associated with the fast spread in the southeast of the country, but that nothing suggests for now that it is resistant to vaccines or causes more serious diseases.
The Office for National Statistics said on Tuesday that the unemployment rate rose to 4.9% in the three months ended in October, as the number of redundancies rose to a record 370,000 in the same period.
The pound was stable against the euro in morning trading, despite the flicker of hope generated by the continuation of talks on a future trade deal between the U.K. and the EU. The U.K.’s currency has fallen by more than 8% against the euro in the last year.