Donald Trump has criticised the British government for its decision to impose stricter lockdown rules on millions just days before Christmas.
The US president argued in a social media post on Saturday evening that the “cure cannot be worse than the problem itself”.
On Friday, Boris Johnson announced that people in London and the south east would be subject to harsh curbs on planned meet-ups for Christmas.
Trump tweeted a clip from BBC News shortly after the prime minister’s press conference and said: “We don’t want to have lockdowns. The cure cannot be worse than the problem itself!”
He also shared a similar clip from ITV News with the comment: “The entire WORLD is being badly hurt by the China Virus, but if you listen to the Fake News Lamestream Media, and Big Tech, you would think that we are the only one.
“No, but we are the Country that developed vaccines, and years ahead of schedule!”
Under the new Tier 4 rules non-essential shops - as well as gyms, cinemas, casinos and hairdressers - have to stay shut and people are limited to meeting one other person from another household in an outdoor public space.
Those in Tier 4 were told they should not travel out of the region, while those outside were advised against visiting.
In the rest of England, Christmas easing has been severely curtailed, with households allowed to gather for just one day - Christmas Day itself - rather than the five days previously planned.
Scotland and Wales are also restricting Christmas "bubbles" to a single day, while people in Northern Ireland have been asked to consider forming a bubble for Christmas Day only.
Watch: Christmas plans scuppered for millions entering Tier 4 lockdown
Johnson lamented the decision in the press conference, saying he was imposing the new restrictions “with a heavy heart”.
"Without action the evidence suggests that infections would soar, hospitals would become overwhelmed and many thousands more would lose their lives," he said.
"Yes Christmas this year will be different, very different. We're sacrificing the chance to see our loved ones this Christmas so that we have a better chance of protecting their lives, so that we can see them at future Christmases."
Johnson said the decision had been made on the basis of scientific evidence which suggesting the new strain of coronavirus was up to 70% more transmissible than the original variant.
Scientists on the Government's New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag) concluded the mutant strain identified by the Public Health England laboratories at Porton Down was spreading more quickly.
The Prime Minister was advised of the group's conclusions at a meeting with ministers on the Covid O Committee on Friday evening, and the new regulations were signed off by the Cabinet in a conference call on Saturday.
The UK also informed the World Health Organisation of its findings.