The United Kingdom has been hard hit by the Corona crisis: while the authorities are recording infection records, public life is being shut down. Prime Minister Johnson prepares the British for a long lockdown.
The corona situation in Great Britain is worsening: The number of new infections reported recently reached a record high. More than 62,322 cases were reported in the UK within 24 hours. At the same time, the authorities registered 1,041 new deaths – the highest since April. In total, more than 82,600 people infected with corona have died in the country so far.
The number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days in Great Britain is now around 550. However, the most recent figure is from January 1st. Many of the new infections are traced back to an even more contagious virus mutation that is particularly rampant in London and the south-east and east of England.
Hard lockdown since Tuesday
A nationwide lockdown has therefore been in effect in England since Tuesday, it is already the third. People should only leave their houses and apartments to go shopping, go to work or to the doctor. You can only spend one hour a day walking or jogging outdoors. Schools, fitness and sports facilities are closed, as are shops that mainly sell goods that are not essential to life. Similar rules apply in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreed that the lockdown would continue for a long time to the people in his country. The lifting of the restrictions could only be done gradually, said Johnson in parliament. There will be no “Big Bang”. The first easing will be an opening of the schools – but that cannot be expected until mid-February at the earliest.
“Every needle in every arm makes a difference”
Also by mid-February, the government in London plans to have given an initial dose of vaccine to around 13 million people at the highest risk levels. “Every needle in every arm makes a difference,” said Johnson. The UK is already vaccinating faster than any comparable country and hopefully the rate will increase.
So far, more than 1.3 million people have received a dose nationwide, according to Johnson. In addition to the vaccine from BioNTech and Pfizer, the domestic vaccine of the University of Oxford and the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca is also administered in the UK.
Criticism because of canceled final exams
The Prime Minister stressed that after the “marathon of last year” the country is now in a “sprint” to vaccinate all people at risk as soon as possible. “If we want to win this race for our people, we have to give our vaccination army a head start,” he said. “And that’s why we have to stay home once more.”
Johnson received criticism for the decision to close all schools in the country and to cancel the final exams again next summer. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson confirmed that students would instead be graded based on teacher ratings. The government originally promised to keep the schools open. “The government has to offer consistency, a consistent policy that doesn’t change every few days,” urged the chairman of the House of Commons Education Committee, Robert Halfon.