Coronavirus: UK reimposes strict lockdown in England as virus surges
First Published Jan 5, 2021, 10:43 AM IST
Boris Johnson said that citizens may be permitted to leave home for limited reasons such as "shop for essentials, seek medical assistance or to escape domestic abuse".
Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed a strict new national lockdown Monday as Britain’s desperate race to vaccinate its population risked being overtaken by a fast-spreading variant of the coronavirus that was on track to overwhelm the nation’s beleaguered hospitals.
"Since the pandemic began last year, the whole of United Kingdom has been engaged in a great national effort to fight COVID and there is no doubt that in fighting the old variant of the virus, our collective efforts are working and would have continued to work. But we now have a new variant of the virus, and it has been both frustrating and alarming to see the speed with which the new variant is spreading," Johnson said during an address to the nation.
"Our hospitals are under more pressure from COVID than at any time since the start of the pandemic. 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 per cent higher than the first peak in April," he added.
After several days of frighteningly high and escalating case numbers, Johnson ordered schools and colleges in England to close their doors and shift to remote learning. He appealed to Britons to stay at home for all but a few necessary purposes, including essential work and buying food and medicine.
The nationwide restrictions, officials warned, will remain in place until at least the middle of February.
The announcement for England follows an announcement earlier Monday that Scotland would go into lockdown. Wales and Northern Ireland, the other two nations of the United Kingdom, were already in lockdown.
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