New year, new lockdown?
Discussions surrounding another national lockdown have begun after a new infectious mutation of Covid-19 spreads throughout the UK. London and parts of south east England entered Tier 4 restrictions over the weekend after Tier 3 failed to keep the new strain at bay. Boris Johnson is now facing pressure to tighten restrictions even further as over 30 countries have imposed travel bans on the UK, including France who have prohibited all cross-Channel routes until further notice.
Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, warned that a national lockdown may be necessary in the new year, especially after “inevitable mixing” over Christmas. Other parts of the UK have already announced stricter measures, including Scotland who will be entering a lockdown on Boxing Day. There is no evidence that this new variant is more deadly however, health experts warn that it may be up to 70% more transmissible! According to government officials, inaction could therefore lead to tens of thousands of lives at risk and “economic, human and social disaster.”
Vallance said, “The evidence on this virus is that it spreads easily, it’s more transmissible we absolutely need to make sure we have the right level of restrictions in place. I think it is likely that this will grow in numbers across the country and I think it’s likely, therefore, that measures will need to be increased in some places, in due course, not reduced.”
Similarly, Andrew Hayward, a member the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, explained that the new strain could easily spread across the UK and overseas. He said “I recognise that we have restricted travel from the tier 4 areas…but this transmission is not only in those tier 4 areas, it’s there at some level across the country. Personally, I think it’s clearer to give a consistent national message because although the levels of risk are different in different parts of the country, they’re still substantial.”
Nothing has been confirmed just yet, but you can rest assured that we’ll be back with updates!