More than 1 million people in England have been infected with the CCP virus, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday, leaving the government with “no choice” but to impose a national lockdown.
Johnson announced on Monday evening that England was to be put into a new national lockdown from Tuesday, ditching the local tiered system, which he said had failed to hold back a surge of the new CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus variant.
From today, you must stay at home except for a limited set of exemptions.
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— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) January 5, 2021
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also announced a national lockdown, which came into effect on Tuesday.
“I believe that when everybody looks at the position, people understand overwhelmingly that we have no choice, when the Office of National Statistics is telling us that more than 2 percent of the population is now infected—that’s over 1 million people—in England, and when today we’ve reported another 60,000 new cases, and when the number of patients in hospitals in England is now 40 percent higher than at the first peak in April,” he said at a press conference held in Downing Street.
Johnson laid the blame for the failure of previous measures on the emergence of a new variant, which he said has a 50 to 70 percent faster rate of transmission.
Dr. Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, said at the press conference that the new variant has been increasing most rapidly in the East of England, London, and the South East, but it is “now taking off in other areas as well.”
Johnson said he understands that people expect the government to use “every second of this lockdown” to “put that invisible shield around the elderly and the vulnerable in the form of vaccination.”
That figure includes more than 650,000 people over 80, which is 23 percent of all the over 80s in England, he said.
The roll-out of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine started in the UK on Monday. The government has ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine—enough to potentially inoculate the whole country.
The UK also approved the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and started deploying the jab on Dec. 8.