Strict lockdown announced
With the latest roll out of vaccines being administered in the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has now come up with a new announcement of a Tier-4 lockdown of over 16 million people in England and has reversed the plans which he had made earlier. This is to ease the curbs over Christmas, as Britain is now dealing with new coronavirus stress up to 70% more contagious than the original one present earlier. Vaccines will still be effective but the new tension of the virus is more deadly and serious concerning the illness caused, Johnson told on Saturday and due to which the government had to take immediate action.
The coronavirus cases had risen over the mark in England in the last two weeks because of a virus variant, said Johnson. Earlier the Prime Minister had removed plans to allow three households to mix indoors for five days over the Christmas period and upon that he also said London and Southeast England, which are in the highest level of a 3-tier system of rules at present, will now be placed in a new Tier-4 level. This is going to be similar to those of a recent national lockdown. During the news conference, he said, “It’s with a very heavy heart I must tell you, we cannot continue with the Christmas period as planned. I sincerely believe there is no other alternative open to me.”
Tier-4 lockdown Rules in detail
16.4 million people and about one-third of the population in England will fall under Tier-4 lockdown. These people will be required to stay at home except for any urgent and essential reasons such as work and any emergency and non-essential retail will close, so will have to be with indoor leisure and entertainment. Social mixing will be limited to meeting one outsider in an open outdoor space.
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The new rules are effective from midnight on Saturday. Johnson had refused the calls to change plans for Christmas relaxation saying it would be “frankly inhuman” to ban it and was criticized for being too slow to his initial response to pandemic during the festive season. Now, Tier-4 will not be allowed to mix with others over Christmas this year. Everyone in England will be allowed now to see friends and family only on December 25th, Christmas Day alone.
However, opposition Labour leader Keir Starmer, said on Twitter, “At this time of national crisis, the British people want clear, decisive leadership. All we get from Boris Johnson is confusion and indecision.” Within just a few minutes of Johnson’s announcement, large crowds of people hit the streets for a final effort to stock up on Christmas presents and supplies. The shop owners noticed a sudden mass of people after the new announcement was aired despite having a really quiet day. The largest crowd was seen at one of Europe’s largest department stores, The Westfield Shopping Centre in West-London.
Other nations in the United Kingdom who had different rules in places that England most of the time, have now taken action after Johnson’s announcement. Scotland has confirmed on Saturday that it would impose a ban on travel to the rest of the UK, and the Christmas easing will be limited to December 25 only. The whole of Wales will go on tier-4 from midnight, but two households can mix on Christmas day according to Scotland officials.