Covid: New variant from South Africa identified in UK

We're now moving onto questions from the media, the first of which is from the BBC's Leila Nathoo.

She asks why tier four restrictions were not being extended to more of England and implemented immediately, given its spread, and asked if the government was "wasting valuable time".

Mr Hancock said ministers had acted incredibly quickly to bring in tier four and this was now being broadened.

He says there are areas where cases are falling and the tier system is designed to respond proportionately.

He stresses the importance of personal responsibility by the public over Christmas and the new year period.

On the new South African variant, Dr Hopkins says the authorities are learning about its properties all the time but the initial evidence is that it is a new more transmissible mutation.

She says it will be kept under genomic surveillance and she is confident the new tiering measures will keep it in check.

Dr Harries adds that further new variants are not a surprise.

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