U.K. Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced new lockdown restrictions as a new strain of COVID-19 spreads across the country.
“Our scientists have confirmed this new variant is between 50 and 70 percent more transmissible – that means you are much, much more likely to catch the virus and to pass it on,” Johnson said.
The U.K. has had over 50,000 new daily cases for seven days in a row. The number of deaths has risen over 20 percent.
“With most of the country already under extreme measures, it is clear that we need to do more, together, to bring this new variant under control while our vaccines are rolled out,” Johnson said during a televised press conference. “In England, we must therefore go into a national lockdown which is tough enough to contain this variant.”
The lockdown will last until February. Schools are turning to virtual learning for students – the only students that will do face-to-face learning are the children of essential workers. People are only allowed to leave their homes for essential errands, to escape domestic violence, or to seek medical treatment. Restaurants are only operating through takeout.
“The weeks ahead will be the hardest yet but I really do believe that we’re entering the last phase of the struggle because with every jab that goes into our arms we are tilting the odds against COVID and in favor of the British people,” Johnson said. “Thanks to the miracle of science, not only is the end in sight but we know exactly how we will get there. But for now, I’m afraid you must once again stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.”