UK health minister suggests tougher COVID-19 measures may last for some time

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LONDON (Reuters) - British health minister Matt Hancock suggested on Sunday that new tighter restrictions in London and southeast England could stay in place for some time, saying a new variant of the coronavirus that has emerged is very difficult to control.

Asked whether people living under the stringent tier 4 restrictions should expect to do so for some time, Hancock told Sky News: “We really need to get this under control ... We’ve got a long way to go to sort this, essentially we’ve got to get that vaccine rolled out to keep people safe.”

“Given how much faster this new variant spreads, it’s going to be very difficult to keep it under control until we have the vaccine rolled out.”

Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Hugh Lawson