Boris Johnson Announces England To Go Into A Third National Lockdown
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that England will enter a third national lockdown, which will come into law on Wednesday morning, December 6.
The government has told the UK public to follow the guidelines from tonight, January 4, before they become law on Wednesday.
The decision comes after the country has continued to see a rise in coronavirus cases following the festive period. 366,435 people tested positive for the virus between December 27 and January 3.
Johnson said primary schools and secondary schools must move to remote education from tomorrow, January 5, until February half-term and exams in the summer will not go ahead as usual. Schools will remain open for vulnerable students and those whose parents are key workers.
Johnson added that the UK’s chief medical officers have agreed to raise the COVID-19 alert to level 5, which means there is a high risk of the NHS being overwhelmed.
As with the previous lockdowns, people will still be allowed to exercise outdoors, but all outdoor team games will be prohibited.
‘Our collective efforts would have continued to work but we now have a new variant of the virus. It’s been both frustrating and alarming to see the speed at which the variant is spreading,’ Johnson said.
He said the new variant is between 50-70% more transmissible than the original strain.
‘It’s clear we need to do more together to bring the virus under control,’ the prime minister said in his announcement.
Tier restrictions will be re-assessed after the February half-term.
The decision comes after there were calls for another national lockdown from the likes of Sir Keir Starmer, the leader of the Labour Party.
Prior to the announcement, Johnson had stated that the country would soon be facing tougher restrictions, but failed to explain what these measures would be. Around three-quarters of the country were already in tier 4 with a ‘stay-at-home’ message.
Johnson has recently received backlash for choosing to allow children to return to school today after the Christmas holidays. Only yesterday, the prime minister insisted it was safe for them to do so, and said it was a ‘sensible’ decision to keep primary schools open.
Despite the backlash the government is receiving for the handling of the pandemic, Health Secretary Matt Hancock placed blame on the public for the spread of the virus.
Hancock told Sky News, ‘It is down to people’s behaviour, frankly. What matters is, yes of course, the rules that we put in place, but it is also about how people act. And frankly what I would say is this: it is critical that everybody in the country does all that they can to reduce the spread of the virus.’
The hopes of the new lockdown is that it will help control the virus while vaccines are being administered.
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