Published on : Tuesday, December 22, 2020
London and Southeast England has officially enforced a lockdown as a part of Boris Johnson’s attempt to control a fast-spreading new strain of the coronavirus, asking more than 16 million people to stay at home for Christmas. According to the latest ban, all households in the capital and the southeast have been restricted from mixing and socializing across the rest of England have been restricted to just Christmas Day.
Prime Minister Johnson had originally planned to ease pandemic rules for five days during the holiday, but made an abrupt change of tack after emergency talks on the virus mutation with his top officials. All residents across the country have been asked keep to their local areas as emerging scientific evidence suggests that the new variant can spread significantly faster than previous strains in circulation.
According to government officials, COVID-19 case rates nearly doubled in London over the past week, with almost 60% of the infections attributed to the new strain. Johnson announced a new top tier of pandemic curbs for hot-spot regions around the capital. Johnson said in a press statement that the method of defense must be changed as the virus has changes its method of attack.
All non-essential shops have been closed down and nearly 16.4 million people (31% of England’s population) have been ordered to stay at home. The measures will be a major blow to retail businesses at what is usually their busiest time of year. The U.K. has already suffered its deepest recession since the Great Frost of 1709 and ministers have been forced to extend crisis loans and wage support programs amid fears that unemployment will rocket.
The toughest Tier 3 measures in the county of Kent have failed to stop the spread prompting Johnson to introduce a new top level of infection controls, Tier 4. People have been asked to stay at home, unless they have to travel for work, education, and health care. All Christmas bubbles have been cancelled and all other indoor leisure and entertainment, and personal care facilities such as hair salons have been asked to close.
Socialising has been limited to one person when meeting another from a different household, in a public space outside. Exceptions will apply for support bubbles. People will be advised to refrain from entering Tier 4 areas and residents in Tier 4 areas will be asked to avoid staying away from home overnight. Foreign travel has also been asked to be completely avoided for all but essential trips. At present, Tier 4 applies to whole of London, Kent, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, most of Surrey, Bedfordshire, Luton, Hertfordshire, and most of Essex. The current rules will apply for two weeks, and will be reviewed on Dec. 30