UK toughened rules due to 'sheer pace' of new COVID variant, Johnson says

·1-min read
Britain's PM Johnson holds a news conference at Downing Street in London

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday the government had been forced to impose tougher COVID-19 restrictions on parts of England because of the "sheer pace" of the spread of a new variant of the virus.

He also urged people to stay at home on New Year's Eve to contain the outbreak.

"We must face the reality that the sheer pace of the spread of this new variant requires us now to take even tougher action in some areas," Johnson told a news conference.

"I must ask you to follow the rules where you live tomorrow night and see in the New Year safely at home."

(Reporting by William James and Paul Sandle; writing by Kate Holton; editing by Guydo Faulconbridge)