UK lockdown: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has imposed a new nationwide lockdown until at least mid-February as the cases f the new highly infectious strain of coronavirus seems to spread unabated in the country. The lockdown would send nearly 56 million people of England back to the full lockdown phase, from which other countries are now gradually coming out from.
The new highly transmissible variant of the contagion has led to a critical moment in the pandemic, where several countries have imposed travel ban to and from UK.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, addressing the country in a televised address from Downing Street on Monday night, said the UK is at a pivotal stage in its fight against the rapidly spreading infections as he confirmed a complete shutdown of schools and businesses, similar to the very first nationwide lockdown back in March 2020.
The measures, which include the closure of primary and secondary schools, will come into effect Wednesday, he said in a televised address, after Scotland announced similar measures would come into force from midnight (0000 GMT) on Tuesday.
Some 44 million people or three-quarters of the population of England are already living under the toughest restrictions, as Britain grapples with one of the worst mortality rates from coronavirus in the world.
But they have failed to halt an upward trend in positive cases, which have been blamed on a more infectious new variant.
“With most of the country already under extreme measures, it’s clear that we need to do more, together, to bring this new variant under control while our vaccines are rolled out,” he said.
“In England, we must therefore go into a national lockdown.”
The new lockdown includes restrictions such as:
- Closure of schools
- Working from home wherever possible
- Limits on leaving home
- Except for exercise
- Essential shopping and for medical supplies
- No household mixing
Highest Coronavirus level 5 in England
After the address by the Prime Minister, the four chief medical officers of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland said the country had moved to the highest coronavirus level five. This means that the state-run National Health Service is at risk of being overwhelmed within 21 days if no action is taken.
Johnson revealed that the number of hospital patients has increased to nearly 27,000, almost a third higher than the peak of the first wave of the pandemic in April 2020. He, however, stressed that there is “one huge difference” compared to the lockdown of last year.
“We are rolling out the biggest vaccination programme in our history. We have vaccinated more people in the UK than in the rest of Europe combined,” he said.
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