The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson has announced a second national lockdown for England to prevent a medical and moral disaster for the National Health System.
Johnson said Christmas may be very different but he hoped taking action now would mean families can gather. He said non-essential shops and hospitality will have to close for four weeks from Thursday but, unlike the restrictions in spring, schools, colleges and universities can stay open.
According to Johnson after December 2, the restrictions would be eased and regions would go back to the tiered system. The prime minister told a Downing Street news conference that he was truly, truly sorry for the impact on businesses, but said the furlough system paying 80% of employee wages will be extended through November.
He noted that no responsible prime minister could ignore figures which suggested deaths would reach several thousand a day, with a peak of mortality worse than the country saw in April.
Johnson said hospitals even in the south-west of England, where cases are among the lowest, will run out of capacity in weeks. He doctors and nurses would be forced to choose which patients to treat, who would get oxygen and who wouldn’t, who would live and who would die. Under the new restrictions:
People are being told to stay at home unless they have a specific reason to leave, such as work which cannot be done from home and education
People are allowed to exercise outdoors alone, with their household or with one other person
Meeting indoors or in private gardens will not be allowed
Pubs, bars, restaurants and non-essential retail across the nation will close but takeaways and click-and-collect shopping can remain open
Construction sites and manufacturing workplaces can remain open
People are still allowed to form support bubbles
Children can move between homes if their parents are separated
Clinically vulnerable people are asked to be “especially careful” but people are not being asked to resume shielding
The UK recorded another 21,915 confirmed coronavirus cases on Saturday, bringing the total since the pandemic began to 1,011,660.
Another 326 people were reported to have died within 28 days of a positive test.The UK is the ninth country to reach the milestone of a million cases – after the US, India, Brazil, Russia, France, Spain, Argentina and Colombia.