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18 Dec, 2020 15:42

UK PM Boris Johnson doesn’t rule out 3rd national lockdown as Covid case increase continues

UK PM Boris Johnson doesn’t rule out 3rd national lockdown as Covid case increase continues

As the UK prepares to relax Covid-19 restrictions for Christmas amid a significant rise in case numbers, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has refused to rule out a third national lockdown.

England could be set to join other parts of the UK in returning to strict coronavirus restrictions after the Christmas break, in order to prevent a severe spike in cases. 

While the prime minister made it clear that his government is “hoping very much we’ll be able to avoid that,” he accepted that it can’t be ruled out, as the recent and rapid increase in Covid-19 cases across England is putting significant pressure on the nation’s health service.

Northern Ireland has announced a six-week lockdown will begin on December 26, Wales will take similar steps two days later, and Scotland has warned that “nothing” can be ruled out ahead of a review of measures there on Tuesday. 

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Issuing a plea to people across the UK, Johnson encouraged everyone to minimise their social contacts over the Christmas period, stating that the relaxed rules should not be seen as a target, but, rather, a maximum allowance that must be avoided where possible.

The PM’s comments come after former government adviser Professor Neil Ferguson said he’s “concerned” about the situation the country will be in by early January, suggesting that a tougher lockdown than previously implemented might be needed in the new year to protect the elderly and the vulnerable.

In the last seven days, the UK has recorded 160,878 new infections and 2,970 new deaths as a result of the coronavirus, taking the country’s total number of positive cases to 1.95 million and fatalities to 66,052 since the start of the pandemic. 

The UK was the first country in the world to approve a Covid-19 vaccine, and the national rollout of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab is already underway.

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