England, Scotland Declare Fresh Lockdowns as COVID-19 Cases Escalate
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has declared a third national lockdown for England as COVID-19 cases continue spiralling out of control. Johnson’s move comes hours after Scotland also issued stay-at-home orders for most of the nation.
England will now go into Tier 5, the highest alert status against coronavirus set by the Joint Biosecurity Center, meaning that health services are in imminent danger of being overwhelmed within 21 days.
Northern Ireland is already under a six-week lockdown while restrictions are in place in Wales as well.
The public are advised to stay in and venture out only for reasons like engaging in work that can’t be done from home, exercise, medical assistance, essential shopping and caring responsibilities. Schools will remain closed at least until mid-February.
Cinemas, theaters and other entertainment venues across the U.K. have remained closed for weeks and will continue to remain shuttered. Film and television productions have continued throughout the various lockdowns over the past year and are expected to continue, provided the crew stay within bubbles and adhere to COVID-safe regulations.
On Monday, the U.K. recorded 58,784 new coronavirus cases, the highest daily total since the start of the pandemic. It is the seventh day in a row that the number has exceeded 50,000. More than 2.7 million people have now tested positive for the virus and the number of deaths is in excess of 75,000.
The U.K. has approved two vaccines over the past month — Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca — and these are being deployed.
“I do believe we are entering the last phase of the struggle,” U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a televised address to the nation on Monday evening.