The United Kingdom is Moving to Stricter Lockdown Amid COVID-19 Surge
On Wednesday, the UK government released a plan to help curb the spread of COVID-19 that included tighter restrictions, according to CNBC.
These restrictions will affect millions across England. Last week, researchers discovered a new strain of COVID-19 that has the ability to spread as much as 70 percent faster than the original strain. UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock spoke today, stating that additional regions would be placed into the tier 4 category, the highest level of restrictions. This will result in around 75 percent of the population under Tier 4 restrictions through the New Year.
“This new variant is now spreading across most of England and cases are doubling fast,” Hancock said. “It is therefore necessary to apply Tier 4 measures to a wider area, including the remaining parts of the southeast, as well as large parts of the midlands, the northwest, the northeast and the southwest.”
The restrictions include a stay at home order and non-essential businesses. Earlier today, the UK also authorized the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for emergency use. “We need to vaccinate as quickly as supply allows following the necessary safety checks, of course, and the NHS stands ready to accelerate deployment at scale from Monday, Jan. 4,” Hancock said.
“We have a total of 100 million doses on order, which combined with the Pfizer vaccine is enough to vaccinate every adult in the U.K., with both doses,” he said. Recently, infection rates have dramatically risen in the UK. On Tuesday, 53,135 cases were reported, the highest number since the pandemic began.