The tight new Covid-19 restrictions that came into effect last night for millions of people in England will likely remain until a vaccine is widely rolled out. Britain The Minister of Health noted.
Matt Hancock was interviewed in the last few minutes on Sky News, where journalist Sophie Ridge asked him if people waking up today in new Tier 4 areas – covering London and most of southeast England – should expect these rules to stay in until the vaccine has been distributed over wide range.
He replied: “I think that given how quickly this new type is spreading, it will be very difficult to keep it under control until the vaccine is released,” referring to a new strain of Covid-19 that has been identified by the UK health authorities and which is increasing across southeast England. Cases have also been identified in Australia and mainland Europe.
Later in the interview, he emphasized the fact that vaccines had already been distributed: “We can see the way through this but it’s going to be a tough few months.”
Britain’s National Health Service plans to vaccinate everyone in England by early April, with similar programs rolling out across Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Hancock added that the primary problem presented by a new strain of Covid-19 identified in England is that “more old measures” such as spacing and masks will be necessary to control its spread.
“All the measures that are in place. We need more of them.”
In a major shift leading to an immediate reaction from his party, the British prime minister last night placed a third of England’s population under new Level 4 restrictions to counter the Covid strain believed to be up to 70% more transmissible than previous variants.
This means that people in southeast England and London will not be able to socialize with other families for the duration of Christmas. The stay-at-home message will be enshrined in law, and non-essential stores, as well as indoor entertainment and entertainment venues, will be closed. Procedures will be reviewed in two weeks, and massive police action is planned for New Year’s Eve.
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