The UK government is encouraging people to stay at home on New Year’s Eve to stem the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
The government has been running a public information advertising campaign entitled “See in the new year safely at home” until the end of New Year’s Eve.
The government campaign has been reminding people they should not meet up with friends or family indoors, unless they are in the same household or support bubble, and they should avoid large gatherings of any kind.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said everyone should act responsibly to protect the NHS.
“With our NHS under pressure we must all take personal responsibility this New Year’s Eve and stay at home. I know how much we have all sacrificed this year and we cannot let up,” he said in a statement.
“Over 600,000 people have now been vaccinated and we are close to beating this virus. Now more than ever, we need to pull together to save lives and protect our NHS. If we continue to do our bit by staying at home, we can get through this together,” he said.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson also urged people to “follow the rules where you live” on New Year’s Eve.
Talking at a Downing Street press briefing on Wednesday, Johnson said, “We are still in the tunnel of this pandemic.”
He said “the tunnel has been shortened” with the approval of two vaccines against the CCP virus.
The UK approved the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday, the first country in the world to do so, and will begin its deployment early in the New Year. This followed the approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on Dec. 2 and its subsequent roll-out.
But Johnson said the new strain of the CCP virus is “spreading much faster and surging across the country.”
He said there were almost 15 percent more COVID-19 patients in hospital, more than at the peak of the first wave, and the UK recorded “almost a thousand deaths” on Tuesday, for the first time since April.
“So at this critical moment with the prospect of freedom within reach, we’ve got to redouble our efforts to contain the virus,” he said.
The government put more areas under tier four, the strictest COVID-19 restrictions, on Wednesday. Three-quarters of England’s population are now under effective lockdown.
Moreover, the start of the new term in England has been delayed for students in England’s secondary schools, universities, and some primary schools, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson told Parliament on Wednesday.
Lily Zhou contributed to this report.