British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is once again adopting home confinement as a practical recipe against the galloping advance of the new variant of the coronavirus, which has spread from the southeast of England to the rest of the State. In fact, the “stay home” message will become a legally binding order, starting this Tuesday, in Scotland. Only escapes from home for an “essential reason” will be tolerated, including walking or exercising outside.
“It is not an exaggeration to say that the situation we are facing now worries me more than at any other time since last March,” confessed the main minister of the autonomous government, Nicola Sturgeon. The independence leader activated the alerts against the pandemic, gathered her Cabinet on Monday and summoned the Parliament of Edinburgh in an emergency session, which interrupted the Christmas festive season.
More than 50,000 positives for coronavirus have been registered daily in the United Kingdom for a week. On Monday, the number of infections rose to 58,784 new cases in just 24 hours and 407 deaths with covid-19 were confirmed, according to government data that brings the total number of infections to 2.71 million and 75,431 deaths since the outbreak of the pandemic at the beginning of last year. The income curve continues to climb and the national public service hospital network, the NHS, is on the verge of saturation.
“I must emphasize that we have not made these decisions lightly. I am very aware of the impact they have and I know they are not welcome. But, in our opinion, they are essential “, justified Sturgeon in his parliamentary speech. The new restrictions include the closure of schools and nurseries until at least next February 1 and more severe limitations regarding the premises, services or businesses that are considered “essential.” In turn, meetings in open spaces will be limited to two people from different households.
Scotland and England have imposed lockdown regimes similar to those in place in Wales and Northern Ireland since late December. The different crash plans try to contain the spread of the new strain of the virus which, according to the metaphor used by Sturgeon in the Holyrood Parliament, “has learned to run much faster” than previous mutations. Transmission is estimated to be 70% higher.
In the other lane, in the imaginary career of the head of the Scottish Government, the vaccination program competes, which also expanded its sights this Monday. Thus, the United Kingdom was ahead of the European Union in the administration of the preparation of the Pfizer-BioNTech consortium and did so precisely with the formula developed by the University of Oxford and the pharmaceutical company Astra Zeneca.
Brian Pinker, 82, a dialysis patient, received the first dose of the Oxford vaccine at a hospital in the same city. The Boris Johnson government, which signed a pre-order of 100 million antidotes from the British-Swedish pharmaceutical group, expected to administer more than 500,000 in the initial working day of the English New Year. The objective is now to put two million vaccines a week in a period of time still indefinite.
“This is a crucial moment in our fight against this horrible virus and I hope it brings renewed hope to everyone that the end of the pandemic is within our reach,” said Health Minister Matt Hancock.
Nearly a million people have received the first dose of the vaccine from the Pfizer-BioNTech laboratories, while controversy persists over the decision to postpone the administration of the second dose to twelve weeks, instead of the 21 days initially recommended.