British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday that “perpetual lockdown is no answer” to the CCP virus pandemic, as he came under pressure from the opposition over the UK’s rapidly growing death toll, which has exceeded 100,000.
“When you have a new virus and indeed when you have a new variant of that virus of the kind that we have in this country, when you have dilemmas as hard and as heavy as this government has had to face over the last year,” he said in Parliament, “there are no easy answers” and “perpetual lockdown is no answer.”
Johnson announced on Tuesday that the UK death toll from the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic had surpassed 100,000.
On Jan. 6, Johnson’s government put the whole of England under the third lockdown since the pandemic started, saying it was necessary to stem the spread of a new variant of the CCP virus which was first detected in southeast England and had a higher rate of transmission than the old variant.
But opposition politicians have accused the government of being too slow to act.
Earlier on Wednesday, the main opposition Labour party blamed the surging death toll on the government’s “monumental mistakes” in its handling of the pandemic.
Speaking at the Prime Minister’s Questions in Parliament, Johnson said he would “take full responsibility” for all the actions he had taken to fight the pandemic.
He said there will be a time to reflect on the lessons that should be learned, but “when we are in the throes of fighting this wave of the new variant, as 37,000 people are struggling with COVID in our hospitals, I think what the country wants is for us to come together as a Parliament and as politicians and to work to keep the virus under control.”
But Labour party leader Keir Starmer said Johnson had been consistently slow in his response and “still hasn’t learned that lesson.”
“The prime minister was slow into the first lockdown last March, he was slow in getting protective equipment to the frontline, slow to protect our care homes, slow on testing and tracing, slow into the second lockdown in the autumn, slow to change the Christmas mixing rules, slow again into this third lockdown, delaying days from the Dec. 22 before implementing it,” he said.
He also accused the government of failing to prevent new variants from entering the country, saying “everybody coming into the country from anywhere in the world should be tested and subject to quarantine in a hotel.”
Johnson responded by saying that the UK has put in place “one of the toughest regimes in the world,” requiring those entering the country to get a negative test result within 72 hours before they fly, and ordering them to quarantine for 10 days.
He said Home Secretary Priti Patel will set out later “even tougher measures for those red-list countries where we are particularly concerned about new variants.”