UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that England would go into a six-week lockdown, as a surge in COVID-19 cases threatens to collapse England’s hospital system. This lockdown will mean the country’s 56-million residents will remain firmly indoors, and also includes the temporary closure of schools.
This announcement was made on Monday, January 4.
According to Johnson, Britain is leading the way with the introduction of two vaccines including one from Oxford University and AstraZeneca. These vaccines started their rollout on Monday, January 4.
He added that all high-priority groups will be vaccinated by mid-February.
“But for now I’m afraid we must once again stay at home, protect the NHS (National Health Service) and save lives,” said Johnson. He added that the lockdown would take effect on Wednesday, January 6 and remain in place until mid-February.
Scotland also announced that it will be locked down for the remainder of January.
Johnson’s decision to lock Britain down means that pupils will not be able to write their summer exams, but elite sports such as Premier League will continue.
The country’s hospital admissions are now 40% higher than the spring peak, which was reached on April 12. As of January 4, there were 26,626 COVID-19 patients in hospital in England and this marks a 30% increase in cases.
“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,” the UK medical officers said, as reported by EWN.