British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Monday the government is not ruling out new restrictions as the coronavirus continues to spread even in areas with the strictest constraints.
In television interviews, Hancock said a new variant spreads more easily than the original strains of the virus and Britain’s three-tiered system of restrictions is proving less effective at controlling it.
Hancock said that while new restrictions might be necessary, ultimately it is up to people’s behavior. He said people should act as if they already have the virus and take greater care around others.
“Yes, it's about the government rules, and absolutely we're prepared to bring in, unfortunately, tougher rules if they are needed on the public health advice. But it's on all of us," Hancock said.
The health secretary praised the National Health Service (NHS) for its vaccination program, saying it has successfully inoculated more than a million people at 700 sites around the country and that there would be more than a thousand sites by the end of the week.
Hancock also praised the latest vaccine, produced in a joint effort between the University of Oxford and drug manufacturer AstraZeneca, saying British science is leading the world.
Britain reported 55,157 new cases on Sunday, and 455 new deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The nation set a daily record for new cases Saturday with 57,853.