NewsIn an absolute u-turn, Boris Johnson announces national lockdown...

In an absolute u-turn, Boris Johnson announces national lockdown in the UK


In what is being seen as a u-turn by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a national lockdown was announced in the UK coming into effect from November 5th, or Thursday.

Starting with an apology “for disturbing your Saturday evening with more news of Covid,” the PM said from the Downing Street: “I wouldn’t do it unless it was absolutely necessary,” he said about the new restriction.

After weeks of the explosive rise in the number of cases, PM Johnson announced the new national containment measures to prevent the second wave spread of the virus.

Hailed as the ‘single most important action’ to take to fight the virus, the nationwide lockdown will expand for a month and will mandate sweeping restrictions across the nations.

People must stay indoors, except for any specific requirement like needing to visit vulnerable, escape from domestic abuse, buy food and medicine, or visit the workplace, the government’s notice says.

People will be encouraged to maintain social distancing every time possible and not gather in numbers with strangers if not for specific purposes, which too must be done with adequate caution.

Under the new measures, shops, bars, pubs, and restaurants will be closed, but schools, colleges, and universities will remain open. Restaurants and food outlets can serve takeaway but alcohol takeaway will be prohibited.

The Guardian noted another major reversal of the government is the announcement of the extension of the original furlough scheme where the governemnt pays 80% of the wages. It has been extended for a month.

Boris Johnson, addressing the media said the current scenario in the UK is running worse than the ‘reasonable worst-case scenario of our scientific advisors.”

He said the ‘local action’ has kept the infection rates lower, nonetheless “we’ve got to be humble in the face of nature.” He said, if not acted upon urgently, some regions could run out of hospital capacity in a matter of weeks.

“Christmas is going to be different this year, very different, but it is my sincere hope and belief that by taking tough action now, we can allow families across the country to be together,” the PM said in the address.

Johnson’s address announcing the national lockdown was presented with grim data showing the NHS overburdened with patients and surpassed the fixed and increased hospital bed capacity by the first week of December.

He said the plans will be laid out in the parliament for review and debate on Wednesday, and if passed it will come into effect from Thursday until the 1st of December.

The sweeping new restrictions come after Johnson faced backlash for rebuffing previous suggestions of short and tighter lockdowns (circuit breakers) to prevent the spread of the virus.

“The government completely rejected that (circuit breaker), only to now announce the same thing,” said Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, citing recommendations from Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE).

“That delay in introducing restrictions will come at an economic cost and a human cost.”

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