London, United Kingdom:
Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday announced a new four-week coronavirus lockdown across England, a radical change in strategy after warning that hospitals would be overwhelmed within weeks under the current system of localized sanctions.
Under the tough new rules that went into effect from Thursday, people should stay at home except in cases where exemptions apply, such as work, education or exercise, when all stores except necessary will be closed.
Schools, colleges and universities will remain open, unlike the ongoing lockdown in the UK a few months earlier this year.
But pubs and restaurants will be closed until take-out food is served, while all leisure and entertainment venues and non-essential stores will close.
The restrictions are expected to end on December 2.
“Now is the time to act because there is no alternative,” Johnson said at the Downing Street press conference after calling his cabinet earlier today to sign the plan.
“We are humiliated in the face of nature. In this country, as in most countries in Europe, the virus is spreading faster than the worst possible situation of our scientific advisers, ”he said.
The British Prime Minister will institute new measures, including expanding a financial aid program to help companies pay staff for an additional month until December, in Parliament on Monday.
Lawmakers will vote on him again on Wednesday.
After announcing around 22,000 new infections on Saturday, Britain topped 1 million cases during the global outbreak and the virus rose to 1,239 in hospital, the highest daily tally at the end of April.
Government science advisers warn that the prevalence of Kovid-19, as well as hospitalizations and resulting deaths, is increasing faster than their most serious predictions.
Criticizing Johnson over the announcement, Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said the current trajectory could overwhelm hospital intensive care units and ventilator capacity by early December.
Chief scientific adviser Patrick Valence said there was a chance of doubling deaths in the first wave of the outbreak.
– ‘no excuses’ –
Britain is already among the toughest countries in Europe, with a total of 47,000 deaths linked to Kovid-19, after 326 more deaths were reported.
Some European countries and developed governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have already repeated partial lockdowns in an attempt to reduce their rate hikes.
Johnson’s government, which is only responsible for health policy in England, opposed the move fearing economic decline.
Instead, it builds itself with a local response system that relies on three levels of Kovid-19 alert.
At the highest levels imposed in recent weeks in many areas and towns in northern and central England, pubs and bars are closed and indoor socializing is prohibited.
Last month, the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) last week recommended a two-week nationwide “circuit breaker” school lockdown for half the term, but Johnson rejected the decision.
Johnson defended the policy on Saturday, saying: “It is true that the course of the epidemic has changed and it is true that the government should change its response and amend it accordingly, and I make no apologies. . “
– ‘Very difficult choice’ –
But critics say even more lockdowns are needed to delay this decision.
The Mayor of London from the main opposition Labor Party, Sadiq Khan, wrote on Twitter: “The government’s delay has cost lives and livelihoods.”
The British Prime Minister has also faced stiff opposition to a further closure of right-wing newspapers within his own ruling Conservative Party, with scientists and medics believing the lockdowns are not working and are very damaging.
Tory MP Steve Baker met Johnson in Downing Street on Saturday and later admitted his boss faced a “very difficult choice”.
Earlier this year, Johnson – who contracted Kovid and was treated in intensive care – was criticized for the slow response to the outbreak, also leading to a growing number of positive cases and deaths in the UK. Left.
He imposed a nationwide lockdown in late March to reduce transmission tariffs by closing all non-essential stores and schools and allowing millions of people to work from home.
The reprieve was lifted in June as cases dwindled, with Johnson saying in July that the country could “see a more significant return to normal from November … maybe in time for Christmas.”