UK hospitals struggle; tougher rules eyed to fight variant

LONDON (AP) — British officials are considering tougher coronavirus restrictions as the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients surpasses the first peak of the outbreak in the spring. Authorities are blaming a new, more transmissible variant of the virus for soaring infection rates. England had 20,426 coronavirus patients in hospitals as of Monday, above the previous high of 18,974 on April 12. Almost half of the people in England are under strict restrictions on movement and everyday life in an attempt to curb the spread. Health Secretary Matt Hancock is scheduled to update Parliament on Wednesday on whether more areas will be put into the top tier of lockdown measures.