British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said England is adopting a national lockdown that he hopes will be severe enough to contain a new highly contagious type of Covid-19.
People can only leave their homes to shop for necessities and work if they are unable to get out of the house, do sports, go to the doctor, and escape domestic violence, he said in a statement issued on Monday evening. Except in rare cases, he said elementary schools, high schools and colleges will also switch to distance learning Tuesday.
“I fully understand the inconvenience and distress this change will bring to millions of people and parents across the country,” Johnson said. “The problem is not that schools are not safe for children … the problem is that schools may act as carriers for the transmission of the virus, causing the virus to spread among families.”
Johnson said top medical officials in the United Kingdom have recommended that the country move to a “level 5” alert, which means that if the country does not take this action, the NHS capacity may be “overwhelmed in 21 days.”
The changes come as the UK is grappling with A. The most transmissible variant of Covid-19. To date, the country has recorded more than 2.6 million cases of Covid-19 and more than 75,000 related deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
On Monday, the UK recorded 58,784 new cases, and it has now been reported More than 50,000 cases of the new Coronavirus For seven consecutive days.
“The number of deaths has increased by 20% over the past week and will, unfortunately, increase even more … Since most of the country is already subject to strict measures, it is clear that we need to do more together to control this new variant while the vaccines are being deployed,” he said. That the mutated strain is estimated to be 50% to 70% more contagious.
Johnson warned earlier on Monday that the UK faced “difficult and difficult weeks ahead” and “there is no doubt” that tougher measures will be implemented.
Before the announcement, more than three-quarters of England were living under “Tier 4” restrictions, the most difficult level of measure in the country.
On Monday afternoon, the leader of Scotland, Nicolas Sturgeon, announced a new stay-at-home order for the country’s citizens from midnight. Schools in Scotland will remain closed until the beginning of February.
UK opposition Labor leader Kerr Starmer tweeted on Sunday that Johnson “should put in place national restrictions within the next 24 hours”.
Coronavirus vaccines are the only bright spot in the pandemic that continues to spread throughout the UK and most of the West. Monday, UK The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has started After starting to publish the Pfizer / BioNTech shot in December.
“There is a big difference compared to last year,” Johnson said. “We’re now launching the largest vaccination program in our history.”
If all goes well, Johnson said everyone in the four priority groups should have their first shot of the two vaccines by mid-February. This includes care home residents and their caregivers, everyone over the age of 70, all frontline health and social workers, as well as everyone who is clinically at risk, he said.
“If we succeed in vaccinating all these groups, we will have removed huge numbers of people from the path of the virus. Of course, this will enable us in the end to lift many of the restrictions that we have endured for a long time,” he said.
The country could consider reopening schools after the semester in the second half of February if the vaccine continued well, deaths began to fall, and if “everyone played their part by following the rules.”
The coming weeks will be the most difficult yet, he said, “but I really think we are entering the final phase of the struggle because with every blow in our arms we are turning the odds against Covid and in the interest of the British people.” “I know how difficult this is and I know how frustrated you are and I know you have more than enough government directives on defeating this virus. But now, more than ever, we must cooperate.”
The UK government decided to implement 12 weeks Delay between the first and second doses From both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca Coronavirus, in an effort to cover the largest possible population.
The Independent Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies in the UK said on Sunday She supported this moveConditionally, but the British Medical Association has criticized the UK’s decision to delay the second doses.