- Nationwide lockdown imposed throughout England, Scotland
- Britain’s financial system suffered a historic crash of practically 20% publish first lockdown
- Non-essential outlets and hospitality must stay closed
LONDON: Amid a surge of novel coronavirus instances and a brand new extra infectious pressure, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered a nationwide lockdown throughout the UK.
The transfer got here as authorities expressed considerations that the surge in instances threatens to overwhelm components of the well being system earlier than a vaccine programme reaches a essential mass.
Johnson made the announcement simply hours after the federal government hailed Britain’s success in turning into the primary nation to start rolling out the vaccine developed by Oxford College and AstraZeneca in opposition to COVID-19.
He mentioned the brand new, extra contagious variant, first recognized within the UK, and now current in lots of different international locations was spreading at nice velocity and fast motion was wanted to sluggish it down.
“As I speak to you tonight, our hospitals are under more pressure from COVID than any time since the start of the pandemic,” Johnson mentioned in a televised deal with. “With a lot of the nation already underneath excessive measures, it’s clear that we have to do extra collectively to carry this new variant underneath management.”
“We must therefore go into a national lockdown, which is tough enough to contain this variant. That means the government is once again instructing you to stay at home.”
Non-essential shops and hospitality would have to remain closed, while primary and secondary schools would close from Tuesday for all pupils except vulnerable children and those whose parents are key workers.
The British premier said the disruption meant it would not be possible for all exams to go ahead this summer – the second academic year in a row in which the pandemic has played havoc with pupils’ education and future plans.
He said that if the vaccine rollout went as planned and the number of deaths responded to the lockdown measures as expected, it should be possible to start moving out of lockdown by the middle of February.
However, he urged caution about the timetable and appealed to everyone to comply with the rules.
Britain’s economy suffered a historic crash of nearly 20% in the April-June period of 2020 as swathes of business were shuttered by the first lockdown.
The new measures, which allow companies such as construction firms to remain open, could cost about 10% of economic output for as long as they last, said Julian Jessop, a fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs, a think-tank.
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As Britain grapples with the world’s sixth highest death toll and cases hit a new high, the country’s chief medical officers said the spread of COVID-19 risked overwhelming parts of the health system within 21 days.
The surge in cases has been driven by the new variant of COVID-19, officials say, and while they acknowledge that the pandemic is spreading more quickly than expected, they say there is also light at the end of the tunnel – vaccinations.
Johnson’s government earlier touted a scientific “triumph” as Britain became the first country in the world to start inoculating people with shots of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.
“I am so pleased to be getting the COVID vaccine today and really proud that it is one that was invented in Oxford,” said the retired maintenance manager, just a few hundred metres from where the vaccine was developed.
But even with the vaccines being rolled out, the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths keep rising.
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Greater than 75,000 individuals in the UK have died from COVID-19 inside 28 days of a optimistic take a look at because the begin of the pandemic. A file 58,784 new instances of the coronavirus have been reported on Monday.
Transferring just a few hours forward of Johnson, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon imposed essentially the most stringent lockdown for Scotland since final spring.
The devolved administration in Wales mentioned all faculties and faculties there ought to transfer to on-line studying till Jan. 18.