New covid variant forces England, Scotland back into national lockdown
London, Jan. 5, 2021 (AltAfrica)-England and Scotland are back into national lockdown occasioned by continued rise iin the new coronavirus viariant
Lockdown for most of Scotland and England are expected to begin immediately from midnight tonight, England Nicola Sturgeon and Boris Johnson have announced.
Scotland’s first minister told the Scottish Parliament there will be a legal requirement for people to stay at home for the rest of January in areas currently in Level 4, which covers mainland Scotland and Skye.
The UK recorded 58,784 new coronavirus cases on Monday – the highest daily total since the start of the pandemic.
It is the seventh day in a row that there have been more than 50,000 daily cases, while government figures also showed there have been 407 more deaths in the past 24 hours.
1,905 new cases of coronavirus have been reported in Scotland.— Scottish Government (@scotgov) January 4, 2021
This brings the confirmed total number of cases to 136,498.
Latest update ➡ https://t.co/bZPbrCoQux
Health advice ➡ https://t.co/l7rqArB6Qu pic.twitter.com/7mvrxBKYUh
In a short address, Prime Minister Boris Johnson directed people must now stay at home and schools must remain closed except for some categories of people who go to work, if people cannot work from home, such as those in the construction sector or key workers
-To shop for necessities such as food or medicines, to exercise once per day at a local location. This can include with one other person from outside someone’s household or support/childcare bubble
-To provide care or help to vulnerable people, to attend medical appointments, get medical care or a coronavirus test, or to flee the threat of harm or violence
It is expected the new lockdown in England – the third time a national shutdown has been introduced – will last until the middle of February after COVID-19 cases rose rapidly in every part of the country due to the new coronavirus variant.
He adds that given the alarming figures, it had become “clear that we need to do more” to bring the new fast-spreading coronavirus variant “under control” and help the vaccination roll-out in the UK.
He says we must therefore go into a national lockdown, with the government once more telling people to stay at home, except for specific reasons, including essential shopping, to work, if you cannot work from home, to exercise, to seek medical help, and to escape domestic abuse.
He says the government will be advising clinical extremely people to begin shielding again.
Primary and secondary schools must move to remote learning from tomorrow, except for vulnerable children and those of key workers, he adds.
Given this, it is not “fair” for all exams to go ahead this summer, he says
But he says it is “both frustrating and alarming” to see the speed at which the new variant is spreading.
Scientists believe it is between 50% and 70% more transmissible, so people are much more likely to catch the virus and to pass it on, he adds.
Hospitals are also under more pressure from Covid than at any time since start of pandemic, he says.
What has happened so far
- The UK’s chief medical officers and NHS England’s medical director have recommended that the UK Covid alert level should move up to level five, the highest possible, after warning that they were “not confident that the NHS can handle a further sustained rise in cases”
- All schools and colleges will move to online learning until 18 January in Wales, education minister Kirsty Williams has announced. Some schools had been due to open on Wednesday and others by 11 January
- A new lockdown has been announced in Scotland from midnight as Nicola Sturgeon warned she was “more concerned about the situation we face now than I have been at any time since March last year”
- Scottish MP Margaret Ferrier has been arrested by police after she admitted using public transport while infected with Covid-19. Police Scotland said she had been charged in connection with “alleged culpable and reckless conduct”
- Hospital admissions of patients with coronavirus have hit a record high, according NHS England data. There were 3,145 admissions in England reported for 2 January, exceeding the previous peak of 3,099 recorded on 1 April last year. BBC