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 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."
As of Tuesday afternoon, he said, over 1.1 million people in England and over 1.3 million across the UK had been vaccinated with either the Pfizer or the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 jabs.
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.