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In increasing cases, Prime Minister Boris Johnson banned unnecessary travel and ordered shop closings for much of the south-east of England

In the face of a new and potentially contagious variant of the coronavirus, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is implementing lockdown measures in London and across the South East of England, including a ban on public holiday gatherings outside of immediate households

After months of patchwork responses from the Johnson administration to the pandemic – and a week after assurances that Christmas parties with up to three separate households would be allowed – his critics point to this latest response as further evidence of shaky leadership amid a crisis which has resulted in nearly 2 million Britons being infected with Covid-19 and more than 67000 people were killed

Johnson announced the measures Saturday after an Emergency Cabinet meeting where senior government officials discussed a new strain of the coronavirus that the Prime Minister said is 70 percent more transmissible than previous versions, some experts have indicated that more Studies need to be done to prove whether the mutation is actually transmissible

“If the virus changes its method of attack, we have to change our method of defense,” said Johnson. “We have to respond to information the way we have it because it is now spreading very quickly”


The announcement follows a week in which Covid-19 case rates in London nearly doubled, and government officials said more than 60 percent of cases in the city are due to the new strain, which is known as VUI- 202012/01 is known

This strain is not believed to be any more deadly than previous variants, said the country’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty

“There is currently no evidence that the new strain is causing a higher death rate or affecting vaccines and treatments, although urgent work is being done to confirm this,” Whitty

said

The last lockdown is the strictest in the country since March and will come into effect on Sunday Checked again on December 31st and is an attempt to stop the new tribe from spreading beyond the southeastern region of England and central London, Johnson said on Saturday

The new restrictions mandate that non-essential travel – defined as travel for work, education, or health care – be prohibited in the area.Non-essential shops and establishments, including gyms, salons and cinemas, are ordered to be closed Newly created Tier 4 of the English risk system added, with areas labeled Tier 1 being considered places where Covid-19 is better under control

For weeks, Johnson has struggled to offset a strong public health response to rapidly growing case numbers, with pressure not to harm the economy any further As the Christmas holidays approached, he promised to ease restrictions, lowering them by five days Allow amusement

“Merry Christmas, but preferably a very small Christmas this year,” he said last week

The British Medical Journal and the Health Service Journal published a joint editorial this week criticizing the government’s response so far, saying that allowing even small holiday gatherings could lead to a spate of new infections affecting the National Health Service would overwhelm

“The government was too slow to introduce restrictions in the spring and again in the autumn. It should now reverse its hasty decision to allow mixing in the household,” the editorial staff said

Now Johnson seems to have followed this advice up to a point: Areas outside the Tier 4 zone are allowed to hold meetings at Christmas – but for one day and not for the multi-day meetings that Johnson recently promised

And overall, the lockdown is part of an effort to slow the spread and smooth the curve in order to avoid burdening hospitals

“In the absence of action, the evidence suggests infections would increase, hospitals would be overwhelmed and many thousands more would lose their lives,” Johnson said on Saturday

Other countries, including Italy, Austria and Germany, have also tightened restrictions in response to the holiday season.In France, bars and restaurants are closed and there is a curfew On Thursday, President Emmanuel Macron announced that he had tested positive for the virus

The US in particular – which has one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the world – has not tightened restrictions at the national level, however, and Johnson’s decision was pushed back by his American counterpart, President Donald Trump, on Saturday afternoon Trump wrote on Twitter: “The cure cannot be worse than the problem itself!”

We don’t want locks The cure can’t be worse than the problem itself! https: // tco / sHBJfG9T8X

Trump has been firmly against the lockdown in the US, ceding decisions on efforts to control the spread to heads of state.The US response has been arbitrary at best, and there are around 300 this year000 Americans died from coronavirus Both the UK and the US are in the top 10 countries for per capita deaths from Covid-19

Johnson’s opponent in Parliament, Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer, also criticized the lockdown, but on the grounds that Johnson’s rapid policy change was confusing

As Joanne Silberner reported for Vox, Covid-19 cases across the UK have increased steadily since September Johnson’s critics, including Starmer, have accused the Prime Minister of a number of missteps that have led to the country’s current crisis / p>

Among these missteps, Silberner describes poor handling of PPE distribution and implementation of testing and contract tracking programs at the start of the pandemic.NHS staff experienced severe shortages of masks and other equipment in the spring, and hundreds of health care workers Testing efforts lagged behind in the spring, while a contact tracking app faced challenges in the summer and again on a second roll-out attempt in September

Silberner also described an attempt to prioritize personal dining in the summer by subsidizing meals in August, a move widely condemned by health officials

“In a word, it’s insane,” said Lawrence Gostin, director of the WHO Collaborating Center on National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University, of restaurant subsidies. “In the midst of a pandemic, it’s actually directly opposite to what the public health evidence suggests ”

Despite these missteps, Silberner describes a government that seems unable to learn from its own mistakes. This now appears to be reflected in Johnson’s advocacy of intra-household visits during the Christmas break

People probably wanted a glimpse of the traditions they were used to but Johnson’s efforts to preserve the tradition have failed because of the decisions made weeks ago – and now Britain must take extreme measures as the government struggles dealing with significant spikes in the number of cases

New Covid Strain, New Covid Strain

World News – CA – Britain has a strict lockdown amid a new strain of coronavirus

Source: https://www.vox.com/2020/12/19/22190874/uk-lockdown-tier-4-boris-johnson