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New pandemic lockdowns in England as restrictions return around Europe

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OCTOBER 31, 2020

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces new restrictions to combat the coronavirus at 10 Downing Street in London on Oct. 31, 2020. – Pool/Reuters

LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a second national lockdown for England on Saturday as his scientific advisers warned that surging coronavirus injections could overwhelm British hospitals in six weeks.

As Britain passed the milestone of 1 million covid-19 cases, Johnson spoke at gloomy news conference, saying he had hoped to avoid another lockdown but was confronted with stark data.

It was the latest move back to restrictions in Europe amid a surge in coronavirus cases that have forced closures, curfews and other measures in France, Spain and elsewhere.

“We will get through this, but we must act now to contain this autumn surge,” the prime minister said, acknowledging that, “Christmas is going to be different this year, maybe very different.”

Starting on Thursday, and until Dec. 2, all nonessential shops, pubs, cafes, restaurants and gyms are ordered closed in England. Grocery stores, and child care, schools, colleges and universities will remain open.

Those who can work from home were urged to do so, and Johnson stressed that those over 60 years old should not go to work if possible.

The restrictions were announced for England. The other parts of the United Kingdom — Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland — will pursue their own versions of lockdowns, some already begun.

The prime minister’s message undercut hopes that Britain could continue with his government’s policy of targeted and tiered restrictions.

“We’ve got to be humble in the face of nature,” said Johnson, who conceded that the virus was ripping through society “faster than our reasonable worst case scenarios.”

The prime minister said that if nothing more was done, England would see several thousand deaths a day, far worse than the peak in April.

He asked his compatriots to imagine the hospitals in the National Health Service overwhelmed in a matter of weeks, with doctors and nurses have to ration even oxygen and forced to decided “who would live and who would die.”


Courtesy/Source: Washington Post