The whole of England is going into a tightened national lockdown due to the rapid spread of the new variant of coronavirus.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson made the announcement in a TV address at 8pm rather than a news conference. “The Government is once again instructing you to stay at home,” he said after giving some background to the decision.
“In England alone, the number of COVID patients in hospitals has increased by nearly a third in the last week to almost 27,000, and that number is 40% higher than the first peak in April.
“On 29 December, more than 80,000 people tested positive for COVID across the UK, a new record. The number of deaths is up by 20% over the last week.”
Clinically extremely vulnerable people are advised to begin shielding again.
Schools and colleges move to remote learning and this summer’s exams are cancelled.
Schools are not unsafe, Mr Johnson said: “The problem is that schools may nonetheless act as vectors for transmission causing the virus to spread between households.”
Leaving home is only permitted for essential reasons but outdoor exercise is still allowed.
The PM struck a positive note on vaccination: “By the middle of February, if things go well, and with a fair wind in our sails, we expect to have offered the first vaccine dose to everyone in the four top priority groups, identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.”
Mr Johnson said the rules should be followed from now and will become law on Wednesday morning and Parliament is being recalled later the same day.
“You must once again stay at home, protect the NHS, and save lives,” he concluded.
Reacting via Twitter, Dr Samantha Batt-Rawden, president of Doctors Association UK, said: “I have no doubt this will have come as a blow to so many. But we are at breaking point on the front line. The NHS could be overwhelmed in 21 days without taking some difficult decisions.”
Read the full article here: https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/943524