PEOPLES NEWS: U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday that a national coronavirus lockdown will once again be imposed in England.
Due to the “alarming” spread of the new variant of COVID-19, which was first identified in the U.K. in late December, Johnson said that additional steps needed to be taken or the country’s National Health Service risked the possibility of being overwhelmed within the next 21 days.
“Our scientists have confirmed this new variant is between 50 and 70 percent more transmissible – that means you are much, much more likely to catch the virus and to pass it on,” he said during a televised broadcast, noting that within the past week, the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations had “increased by nearly a third” to almost 27,000.
The number of deaths has also risen by over 20 percent over the past week “and will sadly rise further,” added Johnson, who battled the virus last year.
“With most of the country already under extreme measures, it is clear that we need to do more, together, to bring this new variant under control while our vaccines are rolled out,” he continued. “In England, we must therefore go into a national lockdown which is tough enough to contain this variant.”
Starting on Tuesday, schools across the country will close, although nurseries will be permitted to remain open. Residents will also be permitted to leave homes for essential errands, to seek medical attention and escape domestic abuse.
The lockdown is expected to last through at least mid-February.