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Date published: 21st, Dec 2020
UK back to lockdown as fast-spreading virus appears.
The fast spreading virus is 70% more transmissible that earlier versions, medical personnel said, though some scientists are disbelieving. People in southeast of England, including London has been given strong lockdown rules to stay at home.
Prime Minister of UK, Boris Johnson quickly stopped all events on Saturday and imposed strict curfews on London and most of southeast cities in the UK.
New measures has been given to them on how they can protect the people from the fast-transmissible virus. The new measures, which will take effect on Sunday, 20th December, are designed in effect to cut off the capital and its surrounding countries from the rest of England.
“When the virus changes its method of attack, we must change our method of defense,” said Mr. Johnson. “We have to act on information as we have it, because this is now moving and spreading very fast.”, he added.
Viral Mutations are uncommon, and British officials said this variant had been detected in a handful of other countries, without naming them. But the government’s medical experts expressed alarm about its apparent new infections reported in London.
Other scientists warned that the rapid spread of the variant did not necessarily mean that it was more transmissible, which an only be determined with certainty through laboratory experiments and other kinds of analysis. Its prevalence, they said, could be a result of other factors. Whatever the characteristics of the mutation, it is clear that Britain faces an escalating crisis, even as it rolls out a mass vaccination program.
Public health experts said the new variant reinforced the urgency to tighten restrictions to try to eliminate the virus altogether, since new mutations are a recurring phenomenon.
“Elimination is more and more optimal”, said Devi Sridhar, head of the global public health program at the University of Edinburgh. “More virus circulation means more variants and mutations.”
The government further told the people to stay at home except for travel (urgent), medical appointments and outdoor exercises. Those outside the zone were advised not travel into it. Though Mr. Johnson said only a few days ago that it would be inhuman to cancel Christmas, that will be the practical effects for much of the country. A plan to allow up to three households to meet together over the holiday will be cancelled in those under lockdown.
Elsewhere, three households will be allowed to gather, but only on Christmas Day, and not for the extended five-day period as once promised.
Mr. Johnson has the power to tighten the rules on his own without alerting or getting approval from the parliament. But the announcement provoked an immediate backlash from the opposition leaders, and even members of the Conservative party.
Though the economy has lost vigour, lockdowns have become politically fraught. When the government placed Manchester, Liverpool and other norther cities, where the infection is in it maximum rates, local authorities said they are not fairly being treated. Last week, Mr. Johnson placed the capital and most of the southeast in Tier 3, the highest from December 23 to December 27, even as he begged people to keep family gatherings very small.
“Have a merry little Christmas,” Johnson said after announcing the half measures.
Published on 21st, Dec 2020