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Senin, 04 Januari 2021

Coronavirus: Boris Johnson orders UK into hard lockdown - The Australian

Boris Johnson has ordered the UK back into lockdown.
Boris Johnson has ordered the UK back into lockdown.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has plunged England into a dramatic lockdown, raising the country’s coronavirus threat level to the highest level of five as the country’s medical system comes under immediate threat of being overwhelmed.

In a prepared national address from 10 Downing Street, Mr Johnson announced tougher measures than the brutal lockdown of last March, immediately closing all schools and universities, cancelling exams, banning the sale of alcohol, returning the harsh concept of shielding the most vulnerable and the return of virtual house arrest for everyone else.

People can only leave home to go to work if essential, shop for necessities, to exercise, care for someone, or to seek medical help.

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The stage five lockdown, expected to be in place until at least seven weeks, comes as the virus continues to rage across the country and existing lockdown measures and mask wearing has had limited impact.

There were 58,784 new cases — a 42 per cent rise in a week — and 407 deaths recorded on Monday.

The devolved administrations in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have also implemented similar measures.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced England will enter a national lockdown – reinstating stay at home orders – from tomorrow in a desperate bid to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Mr Johnson said “I know how tough this is and how frustrated you are’’ as he acknowledged that people have had “more than enough of the government measures to defeat this virus’’ but he urged everyone to pull together.

“The weeks ahead will be the hardest but I really do believe that we are reaching the end of the struggle,’’ he said.

Mr Johnson said if “our understanding of the virus does not change again’’ then the vaccination program in place would see an easing of measures in late February. He said that by the middle of February “if everything goes well’’ all care home residents and carers, everyone over 70, everyone clinically extremely vulnerable and all NHS frontline workers will have been offered a vaccination.

A family gather around the television in Liverpool, north west England to watch Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson give a televised message to the nation from Downing Street.
A family gather around the television in Liverpool, north west England to watch Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson give a televised message to the nation from Downing Street.

He said: “We will have removed huge numbers of people from the path of the virus,” he says. “That will eventually enable us to lift many of the restrictions that we have endured for so long.”

Mr Johnson said the UK had already vaccinated more people than the rest of Europe combined.

Unlike the first lockdown, elite sports including Premier League football will continue.

The PM’s edict will face a raucous response in parliament on Wednesday as increasing numbers of Tory backbenchers are furious at the government’s shambolic response and claims that lockdowns do more social harm than good. The re-emergence of mandatory shielding — putting the most vulnerable in social isolation — was shown to be particularly damaging during the first lockdown and many have argued that people should be able to assess their own risk and take appropriate measures.

However the four chief medical officers issued a statement saying that “We are not confident that the NHS can handle a further sustained rise in cases and without further action there is a material risk of the NHS in several areas being overwhelmed over the next 21 days.”

The UK has recorded more than 50,000 coronavirus cases a day for the past week, as a new more contagious strain of the COVID-19 takes its toll. The country has surpassed 75,000 deaths.

Foreign Correspondent

Europe

Jacquelin Magnay is the European Correspondent for The Australian, based in London and covering all manner of big stories across political, business, Royals and security issues. She is a George Munster and Walk...

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2021-01-04 21:22:30Z
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