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UK PM Johnson says difficult times ahead as variant virus spreads

LONDON, Dec 24 (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned on Thursday that the spread of a new variant of the coronavirus meant there would be difficult times ahead, citing the need to control its rapid spread.

"I know that it's been very, very tough over the last few weeks and I must tell people, it will continue to be difficult, not least basically because of the speed with which the new variant is spreading," Johnson told a news conference. (Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and Paul Sandle, writing by William James, editing by Elizabeth Piper)