UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has officially reimposed a lockdown in England after a surge of infections in the nation due to the new, more transmissible mutation of COVID-19. Hospitalisations have seen a rise as the nation grapples with the new strain. During his televised address to the nation, Johnson said: “It is clear that we need to do more to bring this new variant under control. That means the government is once again instructing you to stay at home.” The lockdown is expected to last till mid-February.
Lockdown to last till mid-February
Measures imposed during the first lockdown last spring have been reintroduced. Secondary and primary schools will be shut and “will not be “possible or fair for all exams to go ahead this summer as normal,” and alternative arrangements are being put in place. People will only be allowed to go outside for essential reasons like shopping for food supplies, exercise and medical assistance. Johnson also emphasized that victims of domestic abuse could leave home, a major issue that arose during the early stages of the pandemic. International departures will only be allowed for “a legally permitted reason” such as work.
Outdoor sports venues will be closed, however nurseries and elite sports will continue to remain open alongside places of worship, with strict social distancing rules. COVID-19 cases have soared in the UK and hospitalisations have exceeded April’s peak. The health ministry has announced that the nation will move to the highest Covid-19 alert level. This is due to a rising concern that the growing number of hospitalizations could overwhelm the country’s National Health Service (NHS) in coming weeks.
“Many parts of the health systems in the four nations are already under immense pressure. There are currently very high rates of community transmission, with substantial numbers of COVID patients in hospitals and in intensive care,” UK Chief Medical Officers said in a statement on Monday.