New lockdown restrictions imposed on Saturday on thousands and thousands of individuals could have to stay in place for a number of months till vaccines have been rolled out throughout the UK, the well being secretary has mentioned.
It follows Boris Johnson’s determination to desert makes an attempt to keep away from tighter Covid restrictions, and as a substitute putting thousands and thousands of individuals in London and the south-east below the brand new tier 4 measures.
On Sunday, Matt Hancock mentioned further restrictions for England introduced by the prime minister on Saturday could have to stay for “the subsequent couple of months” whereas a vaccine is rolled out.
“What is admittedly necessary is that individuals not solely observe them [the new rules] however everyone in a tier 4 space acts as when you’ve got the virus to cease spreading it to different folks,” he informed Sky Information’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme.
“We all know with this new variant you may catch it extra simply from a small quantity of the virus being current.
“The entire completely different measures we have now in place, we want extra of them to manage the unfold of the brand new variant than we did to manage the unfold of the previous variant. That’s the basic downside.
“We all know that as a result of we all know that in November that within the areas the place this new variant began, in Kent, the instances carried on rising whereas in the remainder of the nation the November lockdown labored very successfully.
“It is a gigantic problem, till we will get the vaccine rolled out to guard folks. That is what we face over the subsequent couple of months.”
Hancock mentioned that preserving the brand new coronavirus variant below management till a vaccine had been rolled out could be “very tough”.
“The instances within the tier 4 areas have completely rocketed in the previous few days – the final two weeks or so. Now we have bought a protracted solution to go to unravel this,”he mentioned.
A 3rd of the nation will not be allowed to kind bubbles with two different households over the festive interval because the prime minister acted to take care of a virulent new pressure of Covid-19 that he mentioned “could also be as much as 70% extra transmissible than the previous variant”.
At a No 10 information convention on Saturday, Johnson mentioned he was taking the actions with a “heavy coronary heart”, however the scientific proof had left him with no alternative.
The bulletins prompted a rush to the London practice stations and by 7pm on Saturday, there have been no tickets accessible on-line from a number of London stations together with Paddington, Kings Cross and Euston. Footage posted on social media confirmed massive crowds at St Pancras station ready to board trains to Leeds.
The bulletins got here as a hammer blow to many companies – significantly retailers hoping to select up some pre-Christmas gross sales on the finish of a torrid yr wherein that they had confronted repeated orders to shut.
There was additionally fury amongst some Conservative MPs after weeks of rising backbench unrest over the return of increasingly more stringent controls.
Mark Harper, the chief of the Covid Restoration Group of Tory MPs, demanded the recall of parliament so MPs may debate and vote on the modifications for England.
Johnson’s announcement was adopted by additional restrictions in Scotland and Wales.
Wales went into tier 4 from Saturday midnight, with the primary minister, Mark Drakeford, describing the scenario as “severe”. Guidelines had been as a result of be relaxed to permit folks to have fun Christmas from 23 to twenty-eight December, however as a substitute the comfort will solely be allowed on Christmas Day.
Nicola Sturgeon introduced a journey ban into Scotland from the remainder of the UK, and mentioned the hardest stage of coronavirus restrictions would apply throughout the nation for 3 weeks from Boxing Day.
These residing in England in tiers 1, 2 and three are nonetheless capable of kind a Christmas bubble, however it may solely be for Christmas Day itself – not for 5 days as beforehand introduced – and folks can not keep over at one other family.
The restrictions nevertheless don’t impression on current assist bubbles created to assist with care and childcare causes.
The dramatic alterations to the coverage, nearly a month because it was introduced and fewer than every week earlier than it was as a result of are available pressure, is right down to the prevalence of the newly-identified VUI2020/12/01 pressure of the virus.
The federal government’s New and Rising Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag) introduced proof that it was spreading far sooner than different variations, and that the prevailing tier 3 restrictions weren’t capable of drive down its unfold.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, mentioned docs had been reporting being overwhelmed by an enormous surge in coronavirus sufferers.
Talking on Sophy Ridge on Sunday, he added: “Now we have simply printed the outcomes of a serious survey of docs’ expertise over the past week – it paints a very bleak image.
“Docs are saying they’re overwhelmed, they’re seeing an enormous surge in Covid instances.
“One in three are seeing much more than in the course of the first wave, but additionally an enormous surge in non-Covid sufferers, so they’re saying they don’t have the capability to handle each.”
He mentioned the most important “limiting issue” to growing NHS capability was workforce constraints and added: “Sadly, we entered the pandemic with a scarcity of docs and nurses.”