Boris Johnson announces new national lockdown
Last night Mr Johnson made a televised address to the nation to announce England would be placed under lockdown for the third time in less than a year. The Conservative leader said the drastic measures were needed to combat a surge in coronavirus cases which scientists have warned risk overwhelming the NHS.
The public is now being instructed to stay at home for at least seven weeks and not leave the house except for a limited number of reasons.
The latest measures have left some Tory MPs furious at the Government’s handling of the pandemic and others demanding the Prime Minister now outline exactly how he will return the country to normality in the coming months.
Mark Harper, a former Government whip and the chair of the lockdown-sceptic coronavirus recovery group, said called not he Government to “urgently” explain how it will bring England out of the current restrictions.
He said: “The Government must urgently set out exactly how the vaccination rollout will translate into a return to normal life for us all in 2021, how and when it will lift restrictions and when our freedoms, economy and health prospects will be fully restored.
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“These cycles of lockdowns and restrictions are not without downsides – impacting on jobs, health and life chances that will be visible for years to come.
“It’s vital we act as swiftly as we can to vaccinate those most at risk.”
New Forest West MP Sir Desmond Swayne said he was in “despair” at the new lockdown and the rules were “enough to make your blood boil”.
He told Express.co.uk: “The existing strategy comes at an enormous social and economic cost.
“As we’ve seen, it’s not very effective.”
Yesterday two Tory MPs elected in last year’s general election under the leadership of Mr Johnson and his pledge to “get Brexit done” were thought to have submitted letters of no-confidence in the Prime Minister to Graham Brady, the chair of the 1922 committee.
At least 15 percent – 55 MPs – of the Conservative parliamentary party must write no-confidence letters before a vote on the leader can be called.
One of those who submitted a letter told the Financial Times: “I’m completely fed up. He just can’t lead and this can’t go on.”
Last night Mr Johnson said he hoped the new lockdown would be the last the country would have to endure.
Pinning all his hopes on the rollout of coronavirus vaccines, he said: “Thanks to the miracle of science, not only is the end in sight and we know exactly how we will get there.
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“But for now, I am afraid, you must once again stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.”
Expressing his dissatisfaction with the Prime Minister on social media, Tory MP Sir Robert Syms indicated he too was losing his patience.
Remarking on Mr Johnson’s hope of the end being in sight, he quipped on Twitter: “The end for whom??”
He added the damage the Prime Minister’s lockdown would do to the economy would be “horrific”.
Yesterday the UK recorded 58,784 new cases of coronavirus, the seventh day in a row more than 50,000 new cases have been registered.
One of the statistics presented to the Prime Minister yesterday which is said to have forced Mr Johnson to act was the drastic increase in the number of hospital patients with the virus.
On January 4 there were 26,626 covid patients in hospital in England – an increase of over 30 percent on the same day a week before.
The peak of admissions in the first wave was 18,974, as of April 12. They now stand at 40 percent above that level.
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