The UK authorities have imposed a full lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic. Measures differ from region to region, but not significantly. In general, communication between citizens has been restricted, catering and places of entertainment have been closed, and schools have been moved to remote locations. Earlier, this was called for by the chief doctors of the regions of Great Britain. They warned that the country’s health care system could “overheat” as early as in three weeks.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed a full lockdown across England. This is the third national lockdown imposed by authorities to deal with a coronavirus infection. This time the cause was a new strain of the virus.
“The new variant of the virus is spreading at an alarming rate,” Johnson said during a televised address to the nation.
As of Tuesday, Jan. 5, all schools in England are switching to distance learning. Only children whose parents are members of “key” professions will be eligible for in-person instruction. These include doctors, social workers, firefighters, firefighters, police officers, couriers, salespeople, and others.
Residents of the region can only go out for a walk, visit a medical facility, or go to the store.
Those with chronic illnesses are advised not to leave the house at all. This lockdown is similar to the spring lockdown – it’s much stricter than the November lockdown. “You have to start following the rules right now, and from Wednesday, when Parliament meets, it will become law,” the prime minister warned.
Johnson assured that the timing of this lockdown depends on how much the disease rate rises. At the same time, he promised as early as next month to vaccinate four priority populations against the coronavirus. In February, residents of nursing homes, medics, other seniors, and people with severe chronic illnesses will receive the drug.
Meanwhile, as of midnight on Jan. 4, the BBC reports, all of mainland Scotland will also go into self-isolation. Educational institutions will be closed (the exceptions being children whose parents are doctors, social workers, etc.) until February. Education will be in an online format. You can only leave home for a good reason, as in England.
In Northern Ireland, the lockdown will last six weeks. Service and recreational facilities will be closed, and stores selling non-essential goods will also be closed. However, churches will be open, but only if masked.
A national lockdown is also being introduced in Wales, the BBC reports. This means a ban on visiting friends, relatives, and a ban on weddings and memorials. Authorities are advised to switch to a remote working format if possible. The work of cafes, bars, and pubs will be carried out only by carry-out.
The decision to tighten restrictive measures came after chief doctors in regions of the United Kingdom warned that the emergence of a new strain of coronavirus could lead to “overheating” of the health system in the next three weeks.
“Many parts of our health service (NHS) in all four regions are already under incredible pressure. There are now very high prevalence rates in the population, with a significant number of patients with COVID in hospitals and intensive care units,” the health professionals said in a statement.
The experts noted that infection rates are increasing “almost universally, amplified by a new, more contagious strain.”
“We are not confident that the NHS can sustain a further steady increase in cases, and without further action, there is a real risk that the NHS will ‘overheat’ in some areas over the next 21 days,” they warned.
They also stressed in a statement to authorities that despite the increase in the number of people infected with the coronavirus, there have been changes in the health care system that will provide the care people with chronic and severe illnesses need.
The new strain of coronavirus became known in the middle of last month. Then it was reported by the Ministry of Health of Great Britain. Specialists believe that this type of virus spreads 70% faster than the usual variant SARS-CoV-2. Nevertheless, there is no data yet on how much harder it is tolerated by patients.
Earlier, Dipti Gurdasani, Senior Lecturer in Epidemiology, Queen Mary University of London, warned that the “British” strain is dangerous for children and adolescents under 19 years of age, as it is more contagious for them. She wrote this on her Twitter page.
Gurdasani noted that the prevalence rate of the new genetic variant of the coronavirus (Rt) is about 1.74 times that of the former SARS-CoV-2. This rate indicates the number of people one person can infect before being isolated.
According to her, this is “very disturbing” news. She called for action to begin now. She also suggested that it will not affect adults as well. In this case, there will be an increase in the incidence of the disease, which will lead to many deaths, said the expert.
More than 50 thousand infections have been recorded in Britain every day for a week already. In the past 24 hours, there were a record number of new cases – 58 784.