New cases in UK top 50,000 for 5 days in a row

The daily count of coronavirus cases in the United Kingdom has hit a new high, surpassing 50,000 for the fifth straight day.

The country confirmed 57,725 new cases on Saturday, while authorities are taking tough measures against a mutated variant of the virus.

The new strain is spreading in London and elsewhere in the country's southeast. The authorities have placed restrictions on people's outings and ordered almost all non-essential retail shops to close.

Local media report that some hospitals in London are facing bed shortages and are transferring patients to other hospitals outside the capital. They report that a temporary hospital set up in April is once again ready to accept COVID-19 patients.
London officials have announced that all primary schools in the city will remain closed for the time being, although the new term was scheduled to start on Monday.

Last month, Britain began rolling out a vaccine developed by US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech.

Hopes are also high for another vaccine developed by British pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, with the first doses due to be given on Monday.

However, it is expected to take several months to give shots to elderly people and others who are at the top of the priority list for the country's vaccination program.