December 21, 2020 11.23 am This story is over 41 months old

Highly infectious COVID mutation not yet in Lincolnshire, council says

Highly infectious strain hasn’t hit the county so far

Council bosses say the new strain of coronavirus has not yet been reported in Lincolnshire, after the Prime Minister warned it may be up to 70% more infectious.

Boris Johnson cancelled many people’s Christmas plans on Saturday evening and forced others to bring theirs forward ahead of London going into a new tier 4 restrictions.

The new tier 4, similar to the November national lockdown, was introduced from Sunday morning in London, the South East and Peterborough, closest to Lincolnshire.

Mr Johnson also brought the planned three-household, five day relaxation down to just one day – Christmas Day.

Speaking on Saturday night, Mr Johnson said the mutation is up to 70% more infectious — but there was no evidence it was more dangerous or deadly so far.

A spokesman for Lincolnshire County Council said: “We have no direct reports of this variant being found in a Lincolnshire resident so far.”

According to the latest reports, the new variant was found on September 20 in Kent.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking on December 17.

By mid-November, 28% of cases in London were attributable to the new mutation. And in the week starting December 9, it was responsible for 62%.

Some scientists, however, are sceptical over the PM’s estimated transmission rate.

Carl Heneghan, Professor of Evidence Based Medicine at Oxford University’s Nuffield Department of Primary Care, told the Daily Mail, that it was too early to draw that conclusion.

Mr Johnson said the figure was the result of analysis by government advisory body The New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag), was “early data” and “subject to review”.

But he added: “It’s the best we have at the moment.”

The latest news has led to international action, with a number of countries blocking travel from the UK.

France has also blockaded the borders, causing long queues from Dover through the South East of England.

Greater Lincolnshire’s infection rate from Dec 14 to Dec 20. | Data: GOV UK / Table: The Lincolnite

Lincolnshire is currently below the England average for infection rates after the national figure spiked.

Full tier 3 lockdown rules, which include no households mixing, will apply on New Year’s Eve as the PM urged to avoid celebrations.

There is also new advice on travel affecting Christmas —everyone should stay local in all tiers and avoid travelling abroad, with tier 4 not allowed to travel.

The next review of the tiers will be on December 30.