“pull together”pull together.
The prime minister insisted, however, that the battle against Covid-19 is now tilting in the country’s favor with the launch of the mass vaccination program.
As expected, he used a television address from Downing St to announce a tightening of England’s controls, encouraging people, as he did last March, to “stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives” A similar message for Scotland, sent by Nicola Sturgeon to a recalled Holyrood, followed this.
Johnson insisted that his conviction that the nation is now facing a “defining moment” in the war against the pandemic was shared by the devolved governments, who were all taking similar measures.
“I want to say to everyone across the UK that I know how hard this is and how frustrated you are, and that you have had more than enough from the government in fighting this virus. But now, more than ever, we need to pull together,” said the prime minister.
He added, “The weeks ahead will be the toughest, but I truly believe we are entering the final phase of this fight because with every vaccination that comes into our arms, we tip the odds against Covid and in favor of the British people.”
The new restrictions south of the border are expected to take effect early Wednesday, but people were advised to heed them immediately. Up until Feb. 15, they will remain in place.
They only involve being required to leave the house to: go to work if it is not possible from home; buy food and medication for necessities; exercise locally once a day; care for a disabled individual and attend medical appointments or escape from harm.
The police will be allowed to issue fines and evictions.
From Tuesday, except for disadvantaged children and those of key staff, all schools and colleges in England will turn to distance learning. There will be open kindergartens and special schools.
They will still be able to provide delivery services to restaurants and other dining places, but will no longer be permitted to serve alcohol.
Outdoor competitive sports will be banned and gyms, tennis courts and golf courses will have to close.
However, it will be allowed to proceed with Premier League soccer and other elite sports for which testing systems and bubbles are already in place.
People at clinical risk who have been advised to cover themselves previously must remain at home and only go to medical appointments and sports.
On Wednesday, the House of Commons will convene, with most MPs encouraged to practically attend to hear the declaration of the prime minister.
Mr. Johnson said that the new version is spreading in a “frustrating and alarming” way, which is up to 70 percent more transmissible, and cautioned that the number of covid patients in English hospitals is now 40 percent greater than at its first peak in April.
As I talk to you tonight, our hospitals are under greater pressure from Covid than they have been at any time since the pandemic began,”As I speak to you tonight, our hospitals are under greater Covid pressure than at any time since the pandemic began,”
The four chief medical officers of Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland met earlier and collectively recommended that the alert level of Covid 19 be increased from level four to level five – the highest level.
They cautioned that there was a danger that the NHS might be overwhelmed “in several areas” over the next 21 days due to the rapid increase in cases, if no further action was taken.
The new strain of the virus means that all areas of the world are witnessing a rapid rise in the number of cases.
As of Monday, there were 26,626 patients with Covid 19 in English hospitals, a rise of more than 30 percent per week.
There were 80,664 positive tests across the U.K. on Dec. 29 and another 65,571 the next day.
On Monday night, Mr. Johnson briefed his Cabinet on the steps and spoke with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer as well.