With the growing concerns across the world over the spread of a new mutant strain of coronavirus, the United Kingdom has returned to imposing new nationwide lockdown in England.
In a televised address, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson had announced a nationwide lockdown in a bid to contain the “more transmissible” infection.
The new stay-at-home lockdown, including closure of schools and colleges, will come into effect from Wednesday (January 6) and last until mid-February.
Asserting that the new, more contagious variant of novel coronavirus was spreading at a great speed, Johnson said: “It’s clear that we need to do more together to bring this new variant under control. In England, we must therefore go into a national lockdown which is tough enough to combat this variant. That means the government is once again instructing you to stay at home.”
The PM backed his decision to take stringent action against the virus, he added the hospitals are now jam-packed with patients nearing 27,000, which is three times greater as compared to the first wave in April 2020.
The UK PM also stressed there is “one huge difference” compared to last year’s lockdown with over 80,000 people tests positive in a 24-hour time span.
The development comes soon after Scotland announced similar measures that will come into force from midnight on Tuesday.
However, allaying fears, Johnson said: “We are rolling out the biggest vaccination programme in our history. We have vaccinated more people in the UK than in the rest of Europe combined.”
PM Boris Johnson also expressed hope that by mid-February “if things go well, we expect to have offered the first vaccine dose to everyone in the four top groups identified by the Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation”.
The leader also urged citizens to stay indoors and venture out only for essential shopping or medical reasons.