British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday announced a new national lockdown to try to slow the spread of COVID-19 cases that threatens to overwhelm parts of the health system before a vaccine programme reaches a critical mass.
He said a new, more contagious variant of the virus was spreading at great speed and urgent action was needed to slow it down.
“As I speak to you tonight, our hospitals are under more pressure from COVID than any time since the start of the pandemic,” Johnson stated.
Adding, “With most of the country already under extreme measures, it’s clear that we need to do more together to bring this new variant under control.
We must therefore go into a national lockdown, which is tough enough to contain this variant. That means the government is once again instructing you to stay at home.”
He stated the measures would include school closures from Tuesday and rules requiring most people to stay at home apart from essential shopping, exercise and other limited exceptions.
And if the timetable of the Coro went as planned and the number of cases and deaths responded to the lockdown measures as expected, it should be possible to start moving out of lockdown by the middle of February.
However, he urged caution about the timetable.