Boris Johnson announces new national lockdown
Damning new evidence presented to the Prime Minister by scientists over the last 24 hours have left him feel he has no choice but to take urgent action. The lockdown will come into effect tomorrow but the public is being urged to immediately start following the guidance.
In a televised address to the nation, the Prime Minister announced a return to square one, with restrictions set to largely mirror those introduced at the start of the pandemic last March.
“With most of the country already in extreme measure it’s clear we need to do more together to get this virus under control,” he said.
“That means the Government is once again instructing you to stay at home.”
All schools are to shut until at least February half term and will only remain open for children of key workers and those from vulnerable families.
University students are told not to return to campuses and for the vast majority of courses to be delivered online throughout the lockdown.
The announcement from the Prime Minister came after a surge in the number of coronavirus infections.
Today’s figures indicate 58,784 new infections have been recorded in the last 24 hours.
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It is the seventh day in a row more than 50,000 infections have been registered with the case rate rising 49.8 percent over the past week.
At a meeting of the Government’s “Covid-O” taskforce earlier today, the Prime Minister was warned on December 29 a staggering 80,664 people tested positive for the virus.
Hospital admissions have also surged past the peak of the first wave of the pandemic with 26,626 covid patients in hospitals – 40 percent higher than the highest point last Spring.
On April 12 there were 18,974 patients being treated for Covid in hospital.
Today the four Chief Medical Officers from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland recommend moving UK from Covid-19 alert level 4 to level 5.
The alert level is the highest warning and means there is a “risk of healthcare services being overwhelmed”.
Today is the first time since the start of the pandemic the alert has been raised to the highest level.
In a joint statement the Chief Medical Officers said: “We are not confident that the NHS can handle a further sustained rise in cases and without further action there is a material risk of the NHS in several areas being overwhelmed over the next 21 days.”
The sharp rise in infections has been blamed on a new strain of the virus which transmits more easily.
Scientists believe the mutant strain is up to 50 percent more contagious.
More to follow…
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