Recently, the number of new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United Kingdom has remained high, and the health care system is at risk of overload.
January 4th local time, British Prime Minister Johnson announced that England had entered a six-week maximum blockade, and similar measures would begin in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
It was the third time that the English region had imposed a massive lockdown since the outbreak and the strictest lockdown since last March.” I want to tell everyone that I know how difficult it is.
You are tired of the government repeating pandemic prevention advice over and over again, but now more than ever, it is necessary to unite as one. Johnson said on January 4.
Mutant virus accelerates the pandemic
This round of lockdown measures will be similar to the first blockade in March last year. Residents must stay at home, and only a few exceptions such as going out for medical treatment, exercising once a day or going out to buy necessities are allowed to go out.
Schools, colleges and universities will be closed, and only stores selling necessities are allowed to open. People will work or study remotely from home.
Johnson warned on the 4th that the mutant coronavirus discovered last month is spreading at a “depressing” rate, and the British health care system is under “the greatest pressure since the outbreak”.
He also predicted that the situation would become more difficult in the coming weeks, when the number of confirmed patients would rise further.
Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, warned on the 4th that if further action is not taken, the National Health Service (NHS) in several regions will be punctured within 21 days. Johnson issued a similar warning, saying that the British government would “undoubtedly” announce stricter prevention and control measures at the right time.
As of January 4th local time, there were 26,000 coronavirus hospitalized in England, an increase of more than 30% from a week ago and 40% higher than the peak of the first wave of the pandemic in the UK last spring.
As the mutant new coronavirus spreads and the coronavirus spread rapidly in the UK, medical experts say that newly discovered mutant new viruses spread at a rate of 50 to 70% faster than previous viruses.
On December 29 last year, the number of new confirmed cases in a single day exceeded 50,000 for the first time, and until January 4, it had increased by more than 50,000 for seven consecutive days.
At present, the cumulative number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United Kingdom is more than 2.72 million, the fifth in the world; the cumulative number of deaths exceeds 75,000, which is the sixth in the world.
On January 4, 58,784 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 were added in the UK within 24 hours, setting a new record since the outbreak of the pandemic.
Last week, the number of patients admitted to the coronavirus in the UK rose by one-third from the previous week, and the number of new deaths increased by 20%.
A vast majority of England and three-quarters of the population have previously been under stricter lockdown measures. On December 19 last year, the British government announced that it would raise the pandemic prevention and control level in parts of the capital London to the newly added level of fourth level.
Can vaccines turn the situation around?
The UK has previously started the coronavirus vaccination work, and public opinion regards the vaccine as “light at the end of the dark tunnel”.
The United Kingdom was the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, and began mass vaccination work on December 8 last year and January 4 this year, respectively. Data as of December 27 last year showed that 945,000 people in the UK have been vaccinated with the first dose of vaccine.
Johnson claimed that the vaccine in Britain’s hands this time compared with the first lockdown last year, which is “the biggest difference”. He praised the “largest vaccination program in our history” being carried out in the UK.
He also promised that if everything goes well, the vaccination will be completed by mid-February for several priority groups (caregivers, elderly people over 70 years old and medical staff, etc.).
Although Johnson has announced the blockade measures, the lower house of the British Parliament will still meet on the afternoon of the 5th local time to debate the matter. However, the current trend of public opinion in Parliament is more inclined to strengthen the blockade.
The opposition Labor Party has said it will support the government’s plan.
According to Politico and the BBC, the local governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are also actively considering strengthening the blockade.
Scottish local governments have announced “stay-at-home orders” earlier on the 4th, and Wales and Northern Ireland have also extended the closure of schools.
A poll released by the British company YouGov shows that 79% of the UK public is currently in favor of tightening the lockdown, and only 16% are explicitly opposed.