Boris Johnson orders new England COVID lockdown | United Kingdom Information
A new contagious variant of the coronavirus is spreading at great speed and putting hospitals under pressure, according to the UK Prime Minister.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has sentenced England to a new national lockdown in an attempt to slow a surge in COVID-19 cases that threatens to overwhelm parts of the healthcare system before a vaccination program reaches critical mass.
Johnson said Monday that a new, more contagious variant of the coronavirus has been spreading at great speed and that urgent action is needed to slow it down.
“As I speak to you tonight, our hospitals have been under more pressure from COVID since the pandemic began than ever before,” Johnson said in a televised address to the country as he abandoned his regional approach to the pandemic.
“As most of the country is already exposed to extreme measures, it is clear that we must do more together to bring this new variant under control.
“We must therefore go into a national lockdown that is tough enough to contain this variant. That is, the government again orders you to stay home. “
Johnson said the measures would include school closings from Tuesday and rules that require most people to stay home, barring major shopping, exercise and other limited exceptions.
He said if the vaccination program’s schedule went as planned and the number of cases and deaths responded to lockdown measures as expected, it should be possible to get out of lockdown in mid-February.
However, he urged caution about the schedule.
As the UK grapples with the world’s sixth highest death toll and the number of daily cases hits a new high, the country’s chief medical officers risked the spread of COVID-19 could put overwhelming parts of the healthcare system at risk in 21 days.
The surge in cases has been driven by the new variant of COVID-19, officials say, and although they acknowledge the pandemic is spreading faster than expected, they say there are lights at the end of the tunnel too – vaccinations.
Johnson’s government had previously touted a scientific “triumph” when Britain became the first country in the world to vaccinate its population with Oxford University and AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 shot.
Dialysis patient Brian Pinker received the first vaccination outside of a study on Monday.
“I’m very excited about today’s COVID vaccine and very proud that it was invented in Oxford,” said the 82-year-old retired maintenance manager, just a few hundred meters from where the vaccine was developed.
But even with the launch of the vaccines, the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths continues to rise.
More than 75,000 people in the UK have died of COVID-19 within 28 days of starting a positive test since the pandemic began. 58,784 new cases of the coronavirus were reported on Monday.
Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who was a few hours ahead of Johnson, imposed the strictest ban on Scotland since last spring.
The decentralized administration in Wales said that all schools and colleges there should switch to online learning by January 18th.