Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday introduced a strict lockdown for England because the area struggles to include the unfold of a extra simply transmissible coronavirus pressure. "As I converse to you tonight, our hospitals are beneath extra stress from COVID than any time for the reason that begin of the pandemic," Johnson mentioned in a televised tackle. Officers have blamed the area's newest surge on the brand new variant of COVID-19. The lockdown comes after Britain turned the primary nation to begin utilizing the coronavirus vaccine from Oxford College and AstraZeneca."With many of the nation already beneath excessive measures, it's clear that we have to do extra collectively to deliver this new variant beneath management," Johnson mentioned. "We should subsequently go right into a nationwide lockdown, which is hard sufficient to include this variant. Which means the federal government is as soon as once more instructing you to remain at dwelling."The lockdown will final till at the least mid-February, he mentioned. The brand new guidelines, which begin as quickly as doable, embrace closing nonessential outlets and solely permitting eating places to offer takeout providers. The U.Okay. has detected two new variants of the coronavirus – one which was first discovered within the area and one other first present in South Africa. British Well being Secretary Matt Hancock on Monday mentioned that he believes the South African variant could possibly be "much more of an issue" than the U.Okay. pressure. Some consultants have expressed considerations that the mutations within the South African pressure could possibly be problematic for vaccines.[MAP: The Spread of Coronavirus]Hours earlier than Johnson's announcement, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon declared a lockdown for Scotland that requires folks to remain dwelling, closes locations of worship and shifts most education to distant studying.Wales and Northern Eire are additionally beneath lockdowns.