03:24 GMT25 October 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The UK government is hoping that the country's new three-tiered COVID-19 local lockdown system will be effective enough so that the strict social distancing measures can be lifted in time for the Christmas holidays, UK Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden told the Sky News broadcaster on Monday.

    "So the purpose of doing this is to ensure that we get the virus under control so that by the time we get through until after Christmas we are in that position where it's under control. Indeed, I hope it will be sooner than that," Dowden said during his appearance on the UK-based broadcaster.

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected later in the day to reveal the details of England's new three-tiered local lockdown system, as the government looks to curb a rapid increase in new coronavirus disease cases.

    The new measures are expected to impose tougher social distancing measures in towns and cities with a high rate of new infections, and Dowden said that the system has the aim of containing the disease ahead of the UK's main holiday season.

    Johnson on Monday morning chaired a meeting of the UK's COBRA emergency committee, one day after deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam said that the country was at a "tipping point" amid a surge in new cases.

    The UK Department of Health and Social Care registered 12,872 new positive tests on Sunday, a slight drop from the 15,166 new cases confirmed one day before.

    Since the start of the pandemic, public health officials in the United Kingdom have registered more than 603,700 positive tests for COVID-19, and 42,825 people have died in the country within 28 days of testing positive for the disease.

    christmas, lockdown, coronavirus, COVID-19, U.K
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