Headlines December 21, 2020
UK PM announces emergency lockdown as Covid cases grow
United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson has imposed a full lockdown on London and southeast England in a desperate attempt to stop a new coronavirus strain spreading rapidly over the country.
Mr Johnson announced this after a meeting with top officials on the virus mutation. He had earlier planned to relax the pandemic rules for five days during the holidays. Socialising will be limited to just Christmas Day across the rest of England. Residents across the country were told to keep to their local areas.
The dramatic response was triggered by a new strain of the virus that is unique to the UK>. This strain say reports spreads even faster than previous strains and is behind a huge surge in infections in recent days.
“When the virus changes its method of attack we must change our method of defense,” said Johnson at a news conference. “Without action the evidence suggests infections would soar, hospitals would become overwhelmed and many thousands more would lose their lives.”
Covid-19 case rates nearly doubled in London over the past week, with almost 60% of these infections attributed to the new strain, according to government officials.
The measures will affect retail businesses at what is usually their busiest time of year. The toughest Tier 3 measures in the county of Kent have failed to stop the spread.
Britain joined Italy and Austria in tightening curbs during the holiday season, with all three countries facing rapidly rising case numbers.
The situation has deteriorated dramatically across Europe, just as vaccines are being rolled out. French President Emmanuel Macron contracted the illness and countries like Italy and Germany introduced new measures during the festive period.
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