Daily coronavirus cases in UK surge past 40,000

Daily coronavirus cases in Britain topped 40,000 for the first time on Monday as a new strain spreads across the country.

On Saturday, the government expanded the area subject to tougher restrictions that were initially put in place for London and much of southeast England on December 20.

Across Britain, Monday's total was 41,385. The 36,511 confirmed in England, which accounts for 84 percent of the population, represents a jump of more than 10,000 from the previous day.

The Office for National Statistics says infections have been spreading rapidly in the southeast since mid-December.

The government believes the new strain is more contagious than the original, but also says there is no evidence to suggest it makes people more sick or weakens the effectiveness of vaccines.