Coronavirus cases have risen by 57 percent over the past week and hospital admissions are averaging 1,909 each day, the UK’s health minister said on Wednesday afternoon.

The UK government will introduce new curbs at 00:01 on December 26, Boxing Day, reclassifying wide areas of the country by moving them into higher tiers with tighter restrictions.

Many parts of the south-east will move to Tier 4, joining London.

Much of the south-west will move up from Tier 2 to Tier 3, which will mean the closure of non-essential shops such as hardware stores and hairdressers.

No areas will remain in Tier 1.

The latest announcement bears witness to the government’s hopes of a fast rollout of vaccines, but so far this has not progressed at a rapid rate and judging by the numbers so far it will take several years to immunise the entire population.

FILE PHOTO: UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock Reuters