Sun, 28 Feb 2021

© Provided by Xinhua | People are seen inside the Vaccination Centre at ExCel exhibition centre in London, Britain, Jan. 12, 2021. (Xinhua/Han Yan)

Boris Johnson said figures from the British Office for National Statistics and other studies showed clearly that the new coronavirus variant is very contagious.

"It is not more deadly but it is more contagious and the numbers are very great," he said.

LONDON, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Thursday that it's "too early to say when restrictions will be lifted" as coronavirus infections in the country remain high.

"We've got to observe the lockdown, the stay at home message, protect each other and protect the NHS (National Health Service). It's absolutely crucial in what is unquestionably going to be a tough few weeks ahead," he said during a visit to the Greater Manchester area in northern England hit by heavy flooding.

Johnson said figures from the British Office for National Statistics (ONS) and other studies showed clearly that the new coronavirus variant is very contagious.

"It is not more deadly but it is more contagious and the numbers are very great," he said.

© Provided by Xinhua | Doris Wildgoose, 99, receives her second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Hyde Leisure Centre in Greater Manchester, Britain, on Jan. 7, 2021. (Photo by Jon Super/Xinhua)

Meanwhile, Johnson's spokesman told journalists at a Westminster briefing that the British government continues to keep all of the scientific evidence and data under review regarding the decision to lift lockdown.

"It remains our position that we want to ease restrictions as soon as it is safe to do so, but in order for us to do that we need to see the transmission rates of the virus come down and we need to see the pressure on the NHS reduce," said the spokesman.

Ministers "stand ready to strengthen our border policy where we think it's appropriate to protect the public," he said when asked about reports suggesting people coming to Britain could be required to pay to stay in a hotel for two weeks while they quarantine.

© Provided by Xinhua | People wearing face masks walk along the River Thames in London, Britain, on Jan. 5, 2021. (Xinhua/Han Yan)

The prime minister made the remarks after Britain's coronavirus death toll surpassed the grim milestone of 90,000 on Tuesday.

England is currently under the third national lockdown since the outbreak of the pandemic in the country. Similar restriction measures are also in place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Germany, Russia and the United States have been racing against time to develop coronavirus vaccines.

More London News

Access More

Sign up for The London News

a daily newsletter full of things to discuss over drinks.and the great thing is that it's on the house!