Entertainment UK

Laurence Fox sparks fury by flashing Covid mask exemption badge he bought online

Laurence Fox was labelled an “idiot” by enraged Twitter users after he showed off a Covid mask exemption badge he bought on Amazon.

The would-be political leader tweeted a picture of himself with his new buy hanging around his neck.

The actor is already under fire after the self-described “fierce liberal” launched the Reclaim Party, something he claims will “take back British values from politicians who have lost touch with the people”.

He last month ordered Brits to “take off your masks” and said their “freedom is on the line”.

The actor also told people to “meet in groups” and “hug” – in complete defiance of strict government guidelines.

The actor flaunted his new purchase on twitter

Fox’s latest rant came on the day it was announced the UK’s largest temporary morgue is preparing to open to cope with rising coronavirus deaths.

Almost 85,000 people in the UK have died after testing positive for Covid-19, government data shows.

It is the fifth-highest death rate in the world.

Fox posted: “After a long period of consultation with myself, an extended review period and proper due diligence conducted with myself, I’ve received the badge that I ordered from Amazon. Thank you for being there for me. #anxiety.”

Last month he told everyone to “take off your masks” – and it caused outrage

He tweeted a picture of himself wearing the exemption badge as the backlash came his way.

It drew an avalanche of criticism online with some demanding twitter remove him from the platform.

Comedian James Felton hit him with: “In the unlikely event you ever get any acting work again they’re going to tell you to wear the right stuff.”

His twitter announcement drew a string of angry responses with some telling him his career is over

One user said: “What an idiot” while another said: “What a c**k”.

The comments didn’t stop there and one joked: “The only thing you are exempt from is employment again.”

One unwell follower told meanwhile him: “I have severe lung fibrosis as a result of sarcoidosis. I’m extremely vulnerable to the virus. I have l limited lung function but wish everyone would wear a mask, like I do whenever I go out.

“What’s your excuse for putting me at risk?”

Entertainment USA

Zayn Malik’s New Album Sparks Baby Name Speculation 4 Mos. After Welcoming Daughter

Fans think Zayn Malik has a new muse in his life. A few were convinced that Zayn seemingly hinted at his and Gigi Hadid’s baby’s name on his new album, ‘Nobody Is Listening.’

It’s no secret that Gigi Hadid has been the inspiration for much of Zayn Malik’s music, and his new album Nobody Is Listening was no different. But this time, fans thought that the 28-year-old singer possibly snuck in a reference to their four-month-old daughter. The couple has yet to reveal their infant’s name, and fans intensely listened to the 11-track album’s lyrics to see if there was a baby name in there — a few fans came up with some theories.

“Zayn’s baby’s name is calamity,” one fan guessed in a tweet, referring to the lead single on the album in which Zayn pleasantly surprised fans by showing off his rapping. Another fan looked at a different song title — track 11, “River Road” — as a possible clue. “Tbh i think zayn’s daughter’s name is river or something close to it. if i’m right, i WILL scream,” the fan wrote. A third fan had no guesses and instead posted a meme of someone solving calculations, writing, “Me listening to Zayn’s new album trying to find any cryptic lyrics to what the kid is called.” That’s all of us right now, honestly.

Zayn announced on Sept. 24 that Gigi, 25, had given birth to their daughter. “Our baby girl is here, healthy and beautiful,” Zayn captioned a social media photo of a little hand clutching his tattooed finger. “To try [and] put into words how I am feeling right now would be an impossible task. The love I feel for this tiny human is beyond my understanding. Grateful to know her, proud to call her mine, and thankful for the life we will have together.” The next day, Zayn dropped “Better,” a song that would turn out to be the lead single from his third solo album, Nobody Is Listening.

Everyone was watching Gigi and Zayn at the start of 2020. In the spring, it was widely reported that the model and ex-One Direction member were expecting. Gigi eventually confirmed the reports during an April 30 appearance on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon. “Obviously, we wished we could have announced it on our own terms,” she told Jimmy Fallon, “but we’re very excited and happy and grateful for everyone’s well wishes and support.”

Zayn Malik performs at Wango Tango at StubHub Center on Saturday, May 14, 2016, in Carson, Calif. (AP)

This announcement came during the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. Gigi, at the time, was spending the lockdown at her family’s farm in Pennsylvania. “It’s a nice silver lining to be able to be home and be together and really experience it day by day,” said Gigi. As the months passed, Gigi and Zayn made plans to move into their newly renovated $5.8 million home in New York City’s ritz NoHo neighborhood. In July, Gigi shared how she “spent all of last year designing and curating my passion project/dream spot,” and how she was “excited for the time I’ll get to spend enjoying all the special corners that were made” with help from some of her favorite creatives. It seems that Gigi’s pregnancy also inspired Zayn.

Entertainment UK

Stacey Solomon horrified as Nicki Minaj fan sparks fury by airbrushing her baby

Stacey Solomon was left horrified during yesterday’s Loose Women when asked about a recent airbrushing controversy.

US rapper Nicki Minaj welcomed her first child with husband Kenneth Petty in September last year, and earlier this month shared the first photo of her baby boy.

But a user on website Reddit sparked fury when they airbrushed the snap, giving the child a smaller nose and slimmer cheeks.

And Stacey – who has Zachary, 12, Leighton, eight, and Rex, one – slammed the edit in no uncertain terms.

When Jane Moore asked Stacey’s thoughts, she replied: “I can’t…Why would you want to [edit a photo of a baby]?!

Stacey was horrified anyone would airbrush a snap of a baby

“I don’t speak for everyone who’s ever had a baby, but honestly I could have given birth to Quasimodo and would’ve thought it was the most beautiful baby in the world.

“I have never looked at my children in my life and thought, ‘ohhhh, that nose.'”

Sharing their edit, the Reddit user wrote that the child had “smaller cheeks, smaller forehead, and smaller nose” before the before and after snaps sparked a furious backlash.

“Growing up is hard enough. I’m eternally grateful that I did it before Photoshop,” another web surfer remarked.

Nicki Minaj shared the original snap of her newborn
Nicki shared the original snap of her cute newborn

A fan sparked backlash after posting an airbrushed version of Nicki Minaj's baby
A fan posted the airbrushed version, sparking a backlash

Nicki – real name Onika Tanya Maraj-Petty – melted hearts last week with the first look at her and Kenneth’s tot.

The hitmaker wrote: “#PapaBear thank you so very much for choosing me to be your mama.”

And proud parent Nicki gushed that motherhood was the “most fulfilling job” she’d ever done, adding: “Sending love to all the superhero mothers out there. Big hugs to all the women who have been pregnant during this challenging time.”

She shared her baby joy in August, just a month before giving birth, with a pregnancy snap captioned “Preggers.”

Thanking her celebrity pals for the flood of gifts that had come her way, Nicki wrote: “Thank you to Queen B, Kim & Ye, Riccardo Tisci, Winnie, Karol & everyone who sent well wishes during this time.

Nicki Minaj shared the news that she was having a baby in August
Nicki shared their baby joy in August before giving birth in September

Nicki Minaj became a mother for the first time in September
Nicki and Kenneth welcomed their first child together

“It meant the world to me. I am so grateful & in love with my son. Madly in love. My favorite liddo boy in the whole wide world.”

Stacey, meanwhile, is on Cloud Nine after partner Joe Swash – Rex’s dad – popped the question in a romantic Christmas Eve proposal.

*Loose Women airs on weekdays at 12:30pm on ITV.

Entertainment UK

Danny Dyer sparks fresh feud with Olly Murs as he dubs his music ‘really s***’

Danny Dyer first took a pop at singer Olly Murs’ talents six years ago – and he’s at it again.

The EastEnders star, 43, took a swipe at the 36-year-old Troublemaker hitmaker on his and daughter Dani Dyer’s recent episode of Sorted With The Dyers podcast.

Actor Danny appeared to reignite his feud with Essex boy Olly when he quizzed his pregnant daughter on her birthing plans and asked if she’d a compiled music playlist.

Danny then went on to dub Olly’s music as “really s**t”.

He asked her: “Have you got a playlist? How about if you listened to some really s**t music and then that might help?

Danny Dyer has labelled Olly Murs’ music as ‘really s***’

“Say you kick off with Olly Murs?”

Former Love Island personality Dani, who is soon due to welcome her first baby with boyfriend Sammy Kimmence, responded: “Oh no, I don’t want anything like that.”

In March 2015, Danny made it clear that he was not a fan of X Factor star Olly when he stopped host Greg James from playing one of his tracks during an interview.

He exclaimed: “Do you have to play Olly Murs? Can you not play something else? Just pull a tune out?”

Olly Murs sits on a red chair
Back in 2015, Danny slammed Olly’s music

It comes after first-time mum-to-be Dani admitted that she’s feeling scared when thinking of giving birth.

Taking to her Instagram Story, Dani got candid with her followers ahead of her due date.

“Honestly, I’m so scared now to give birth,” she said.

“Knowing that in a month’s time there’s going to be a baby here, hopefully, if I’m not overdue and stuff, I’m just really scared and want tips now.”

Promotional image for Sorted with the Dyers podcast
Danny made the latest comments on the podcast he does with daughter Dani

Dani admitted she was laid back when it came to thinking of giving birth, but as the big day gets nearer and nearer, she’s having a harder time being as relaxed.

“I’ve been that person that was like, ‘Yeah I’m fine and whatever…giving birth is easy!’ and now I’m sitting here like oh my God,” she said.

“Any tips would be great!”

Dani stunned fans with her pregnancy announcement back in July when she took to Instagram to reveal that she and Sammy would welcome their first child in January 2021.

Headline USA

American bride’s ‘ridiculous’ ‘bridesmaid contract’ sparks outrage online

1. I will not try to convince the bride to change anything in her wedding

2. I will not grow sensitive and angry with the bride because I understand that she has a bossy attitude

3. I will not attempt to outdo the bride in any way

4. I will wear the hairstyle the bride chooses for the wedding day

5. I understand that I have to purchase my own dress and shoes and hairstyle for the wedding

6. I understand that the bachelorette party may be a destination getaway

7. I understand that I have to purchase a bachelorette party T-shirt and fund my own trip if it is away

8. I understand that the maid and matron of honour will need help funding some of the events. The wedding and reception are not included

9. I understand that the bride does not want any suggestion and this agreement is on here twice, two different ways because the bride wants it to be clear – only suggestion allowed is a way to get her exact item at a cheaper price

10. I will not drop out of the wedding party for any of the reasons listed above. If I do not like anything listed, I will not sign the contract and I will be replaced. I understand that I do not agree to the above terms it will not ruin the bride and I’s friendship. But if I sign and agree and later want to drop out, then it will ruin our friendship

11. I understand that no friendship to the bride is bigger than anyone in her wedding party and everyone will be treated equally

12. I understand that I may have to do physical activity at the reception and this requires practices provided by the bride

13. No coloured contact lenses allowed

14. No black drawn-on eyebrows or thick drawn-on (matter of fact, revert back to make-up law above)

15. No glossy coloured lipstick allowed (the kind that looks very, very shiny and bright)

16. No colourful nails the day of the wedding. Only colours allowed are American, French or Nudes

17. I will provide the bride with my normal seven-day schedule within five days of signing this contract

18. I will agree to save at least $50 a month for expenses for the next 14 months

19. I will not talk negative about anyone in the wedding

20. I will not gain more than 3kg between now and the wedding

21. I will wear only black or dark brown hair on the day of the wedding (highlights may be accepted with prior approval)

22. I cannot wear any lashes the day of the wedding unless professionally installed

23. I have to attend the bridal shower and bachelorette party, fitting and rehearsals and wedding (only time this can be missed is death or jail, pregnancy over five months and some sickness with recent doctor’s note)

24. I will take care of my skin, hair and nails from now until the wedding

25. The bride will choose my make-up artist the day of the wedding

26. I will agree to wear the dress the bride chooses regardless of my own opinions, style or colour

27. I will not wear any extra accessories, items of clothing or jewellery the day of the wedding except my wedding or engagement ring.

28. I will not intentionally fall pregnant before the wedding. (Pregnancy under five months will not be excused from attending wedding events)

29. I will support the bride in everything she chooses

30. I will not consume more than seven units of alcohol during any even except bachelorette party (there will be no limit)

31. I will not bring a date to wedding or reception without bridal approval

32. I will not bring any outside people, except kids, to any meeting

33. I will not bring my kids to the wedding unless they are a part of the wedding party (no exceptions)

34. I will make sure I have an accountable babysitter the day of all events and I understand that no show for no babysitter will not be an acceptable excuse

35. I will not make any advances towards males in the wedding party

36. I will not date anyone in the wedding party that I wasn’t dating before I signed this contract

37. I will be happy and positive at all times during wedding and reception

Entertainment UK

Ferne McCann sparks romance rumours with hunky model on South Africa trip

Ferne McCann could have a new man.

The 30-year-old reality star, who shot to fame on TOWIE, recently jetted to South Africa with her three-year-old daughter Sunday.

And amid flying love life rumours, Ferne appears to have struck up a romance with ripped male model Jack Padgett.

Fans started speculating that the two would catch each other’s eyes after they documented a trip to the same Cape Town beach – sharing very similar snaps of the native penguins.

And now photos obtained by MailOnline show them snuggling on Boulders Beach, seemingly confirming they’re an item.

Ferne’s been parading the sun-soaked trip on Instagram, including snaps with cute Sunday and her best pal Carl Cunard.

Ferne has sparked romance rumours during her South Africa work trip

And though she hasn’t made mention of handsome Jack, fans are giddy with excitement that she could have a new fella in her life.

Taking Sunday to see the penguins yesterday, proud mum Ferne shared a snap of the toddler snoozing on her shoulder.

Turning her back on the rocky landscape and crystal blue sea beyond, Ferne took the opportunity to pen a sweet tribute to her daughter too.

Jack and Ferne shared similar snaps from the same beach yesterday

Ferne and Jack are rumoured to have struck up a romance while in South Africa

“If I could give you one thing in life my baby girl,” she wrote, “I would give you the ability to see yourself through my eyes.

“Then…you would realise how special you are to me. The most special moments visiting the penguins on #bouldersbeach with my girl.”

And Ferne thanked Cape Town for the memories, adding: “I want to give a moment to give a little thanks to the most beautiful days in Cape Town.

Ferne penned a tribute to daughter Sunday

Ferne also thanked the city of Cape Town for hosting them

“I am eternally grateful that I get to travel for work and I can also bring along my baby girl.”

This was the first time she clarified that she’s in the country for her career.

Ferne’s trip initially sparked controversy after she travelled from Essex, which is currently under Tier 4 restrictions.

That means travel abroad is forbidden except in certain instances, such as for work.

Ferne’s mate Carl joined them on the trip

Ferne confirmed that she was in South Africa for work after questions were raised over the trip

Her rumoured romance, meanwhile, comes after she told us that she was keeping an eye out for a man as the second lockdown loomed.

“I am looking for a boyfriend ready to sign a deal tomorrow,” she shared, “I cannot do another lockdown being single.”

The Mirror has contacted Ferne’s rep for comment.

Entertainment UK

Kourtney Kardashian sparks pregnancy rumours with ‘baby bump’ bikini pics

Kourtney Kardashian has sent her fans wild with a bikini snap on Instagram but it isn’t her sizzling pic that has whipped them up into a frenzy.

The photo from a holiday in Mexico has fuelled the belief that she is expecting her fourth child, despite the pic being a throwback from the summer.

Kourtney is seen posing with her children while on the family getaway to Cabo San Lucas as she wears a tiny pink bikini.

Her posture seems to accentuate her usually toned stomach, giving the appearance that she may be in the early stages of pregnancy.

The 41-year-old Keeping Up With The Kardashians star captioned the post: “Little Cabo daydream.”

Kourtney Kardashian sparks pregnancy rumours with new bikini pictures

There was only one subject that dominated the comments and that was speculation about Kourtney being with child.

One fan exclaimed in the comments: “Does anyone else see a baby bump or am I crazy?”

Another excitedly asked: “Wait so she’s preggo????????”

A third simply added: “Babie 4.”

While fans “hoped” that Kourtney was pregnant, it has been reported that this might be far from the mark.

The photos are thought to be a throwback to the summer and recent photos of the reality star do not show her heavy with a baby bump.

Kourtney Kardashian posted throwback pics from her Mexican holiday

In fact, eagle-eyed fans have pointed to pics from the Kardashian’s Christmas Eve party, in which Kourtney is seen drinking from a cocktail glass.

It was then counter-argued that there is no proof that it was alcoholic and may have been a fruit ‘mocktail’.

One fan asked Kourtney outright: “You’re pregnant. Right?”

Kourtney has yet to respond this time but has ruled out being pregnant previously during the lockdown, after it was levelled at her before.

Do you have a story to sell? Get in touch with us at [email protected] or call us direct 0207 29 33033.

Entertainment USA

Brian Austin Green Sparks Romance Rumors With ‘DWTS’ Pro Sharna Burgess As They Head On Post-Christmas Vacation

Brian Austin Green and Sharna Burgess were spotted having a great time at LAX airport before leaving on a Christmas getaway to an unknown location.

Could Brian Austin Green, 47, be dating Sharna Burgess? That’s the question on a lot of people’s minds after the actor and the 35-year-old Dancing with the Stars dancer were seen hanging out at LAX airport before jetting off on a vacation at an unknown location on Dec. 25. After they got through the security line, they were dancing to Christmas music while waiting in line at a cafe, according to Daily Mail. Check out the pics of them HERE!

During the sighting, Brian was wearing a long-sleeved beige sweater that had the phrase, “YOU ARE WHAT YOU LISTEN TO,” on it and camouflage sweatpants while Sharna wore a long-sleeved black top and matching pants. They also both wore face masks and Brian donned a straw fedora-style hat while Sharna rocked a black baseball cap. As they sat there and held onto their carry-on luggage, the blonde and pink-haired beauty looked infatuated by the former Beverly Hills, 90210 star, the outlet further reported.

Brian Austin Green is seen here on a previous outing. (MEGA)

Brian and Sharna’s vacation comes after the latter confirmed she was in a new relationship when she gave an interview to Us Weekly earlier this month. “I actually am not on the market anymore. But it’s very new and very, you know, it’s dating, essentially,” she told the outlet. No one’s calling us a relationship yet.”

She even went on to joke about how ironic it would be if the unnamed person ended up being the love of her life due to the coronavirus. “How funny would it be if I actually found the love of my life during a pandemic?” she asked while going on to explain that dating during these times requires getting “separate blankets and sitting six feet apart.”

Sharna Burgess
Sharna Burgess admitted she’s dating someone in an interview in early Dec. (MEGA)

Although the romance is new and exciting, Sharna further explained that she’s trying to keep things private right now. “I thought that when I met someone, I would be like scream it from the mountain tops,” she said. “And it’s actually, it’s almost the opposite. I want to hold it close to me for just as long as I can to stay in this space and just enjoy that human for as much as I can.”

She concluded her talk about her new man by admitting their connection “feels different to all the rest of them.”

Brian, who could very well be that man, split from his wife Megan Fox, 34, earlier this year and has been spotted out and about with a few females, including Tina Louise and Courtney Stodden, since then but nothing has stuck. Here’s to hoping things work out for the best between Brian and Sharna if they are indeed dating!

Entertainment UK

Jennifer Aniston sparks fury with coronavirus-themed Christmas decoration

Jennifer Aniston sent fans wild when she finally joined Instagram last year with that epic Friends reunion picture, but she’s sparked fury this Christmas.

The actress left her fans completely divided when she shared a snap of a Christmas tree decoration that referenced the coronavirus pandemic.

Jennifer, 51, shared a snap of the ornament on her Instagram Story on Friday, although there was no caption to say whether or not it actually belonged to her.

The round wooden decoration has the words ‘our first pandemic 2020’ carved into it.

And it seems the internet was pretty angry about it.

One person tweeted: “Jennifer Aniston is a damn fool for posting that ornament on her story… celebrities are ditzy af

The ornament divided opinion

“‘cheers to our first pandemic of 2020, where millions of people died! let’s celebrate that on a Christmas ornament!'”

“i’ve had enough of rich people…..,” another posted alongside the picture.

A third posted: “why’s jennifer aniston talking abt “our first pandemic” like it’s a baby shower”

Many of Jennifer’s fans rushed to defend her

And another penned: “All celebrities have done during this pandemic is show how out of touch and just f**king oblivious they are to anything that doesn’t have to do with them. Some people’s entire family have died, but at least Aniston is showing how quirky she can be.”

However, many rushed to defend the star, saying she has previously posted of her sympathy for victims of Covid-19 and how she’s urged people to wear face masks and follow public health guidelines.

One posted: “I didn’t see it this way. Maybe it’s just a souvenir for the future? Idk if she meant to celebrate”

Courteney Cox as Monica Geller, Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani, Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay, Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing, Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green, David Schwimmer as Dr. Ross Geller in Friends

Another wrote: “Jennifer Aniston isn’t even the first person I’ve seen with an ornament like that this year… one of my friend’s made one that said ‘baby’s first pandemic’.”

And one suggested: “Just saw that Jennifer Aniston is getting canceled over a “our first pandemic” ornament? My mom’s coworker gave her one for Christmas everyone here needs to calm down lol”

The Mirror has contacted Jennifer’s representatives for comment.


COVID Variant in UK Sparks Travel Restrictions

Dec. 21, 2020 — A highly transmissible coronavirus variant had been detected in the United Kingdom, leading Prime Minister Boris Johnson to shut down parts of the country and triggering other nations to impose travel and shipping restrictions on England.

Johnson was holding a crisis meeting with ministers Monday on how to go forward following Saturday’s shutdown announcement. The PM stated in a nationally televised address that this coronavirus variant may be “up to 70% more transmissible than the old variant” and was probably responsible for an increase in cases in southeastern England.

“There is still much we don’t know. While we are fairly certain the variant is transmitted more quickly, there is no evidence to suggest that it is more lethal or causes more severe illness. Equally there is no evidence to suggest the vaccine will be any less effective against the new variant,” Johnson said.

Public Health England said it is working to learn as much about the variant as possible. “We know that mortality is a lagging indicator and we will need to continually monitor this over the coming weeks,” the agency said.

That scientific uncertainty about the variant’s threat shook European nations which were rushing to ship goods to England in advance of a December 31 Brexit deadline.

European Union members Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, and the Netherlands announced travel restrictions of varying severity hours after Johnson’s speech.

Those restrictions created food uncertainty across the UK, which imports about a quarter of its food from the EU, according to the New York Times. Long lines of trucks heading to ports in the UK came to a standstill on major roads such as the M20 near Kent and the Port of Dover.

Outside Europe, Canada, India, Iran, Israel, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey banned all incoming flights from the UK. And more bans could come.

The U.S. Reaction

The United States has not imposed any new limits on travel with the United Kingdom, although New York Governor Mario Cuomo has requested all JFK bound passengers from the UK be tested before boarding and a new travel ban be placed for Europe. He said that the federal government must take action now to avoid a crisis situation like New York experienced in March and April.

“The United States has a number of flights coming in from the UK each day and we have done absolutely nothing,” Cuomo said in a statement on the governor’s webpage. “To me, this is reprehensible because this is what happened in the spring. How many times in life do you have to make the same mistake before you learn?”

Leading U.S. health officials have downplayed the dangers of the virus.

“We don’t know that it’s more dangerous and, very importantly, we have not seen a single mutation yet that would make it evade the vaccine,” U.S. Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services for Health Adm. Brett Giroir said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”

“I can’t say that won’t happen in the future, but right now it looks like the vaccine will cover everything that we see.” Giroir said HHS and other US government agencies will monitor the variant.

“Viruses mutate,” he said. “We’ve seen almost 4,000 different mutations among this virus. There is no indication that the mutation right now that they’re talking about is overcoming England.”

Where Did the Variant Come From?

Public Health England said the coronavirus variant had existed in the UK since last September and circulated at very low levels until mid-November.

“The increase in cases linked to the new variant first came to light in late November when PHE was investigating why infection rates in Kent were not falling despite national restrictions. We then discovered a cluster linked to this variant spreading rapidly into London and Essex,” the agency said.

PHE said there’s no evidence the new variant is resistant to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which is now being administered across the country to high-priority groups such as health care workers.

The online journal BJM Medical said the variant was first detected by Covid-19 Genomics UK, a consortium which tests the random genetic sequencing of positive COVID samples around the UK. The variant cases were mostly in the southeast of England.

BJM Medical said a University of Birmingham professor said in a Dec. 15 briefing that the variant accounts for 20% of viruses sequenced in Norfolk, 10% in Essex, and 3% in Suffolk. “There are no data to suggest it had been imported from abroad, so it is likely to have evolved in the UK,” he said.

The variant is named VUI-202012/01, for the first “variant under investigation” in December 2020, BMJ said. It’s defined by a set of 17 mutations, with the most significant mutation in the spike protein the virus uses to bind to the human ACE2 receptor.

“Changes in this part of spike protein may, in theory, result in the virus becoming more infectious and spreading more easily between people,” BMJ said.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control noted the variant emerged during the time of year when people usually socialize a lot.

“There is no indication at this point of increased infection severity associated with the new variant,” the agency said. “A few cases with the new variant have to date been reported by Denmark and the Netherlands and, according to media reports, in Belgium.”

Johnson announced tighter restrictions on England’s hardest-hit areas, such as the Southeast and East of England, where new coronavirus cases have continued to rise. And he said people must cut back on their Christmas socializing.

“In England, those living in tier 4 areas should not mix with anyone outside their own household at Christmas, though support bubbles will remain in place for those at particular risk of loneliness or isolation,” he said.

WebMD Health News


British Prime Minister. “19 December 2020 (Transcript of the speech, exactly as it was delivered)”

NYT. “Alarmed by reports of new coronavirus strain, nations close doors to Britain.”

ABC News. ” ‘This Week’ Transcript 12-20-20: Adm. Brett Giroir, Sen. Mark Warner and Jennifer Granholm”

NY Governor. “Governor Cuomo Calls on the Federal Government to Take Action in Wake of Highly Contagious Variant of Covid-19 Virus Circulating in the United Kingdom”

UK Public Health Agency

BJM Medical. “Covid-19: New coronavirus variant is identified in UK”

WebMD. “Blood Yields Clue to Why COVID Is Tougher on Men”

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. “Threat Assessment Brief: Rapid increase of a SARS-CoV-2 variant with multiple spike protein mutations observed in the United Kingdom”

The Guardian: “Boris Johnson holds Covid briefing as talks with France on freight ban continue

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