The Associated Press

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a new national lockdown for England on Monday through at least mid-February to tackle a rapidly spreading new variant of the coronavirus, despite the UK stepping up its vaccination program by becoming the first country to use the developed shot from Oxford University and the drug manufacturer AstraZeneca

Johnson said people had to stay home again, as ordered in the first wave of the pandemic in March, this time because the new variant of the virus spread in “frustrating and alarming” ways

“As I speak to you tonight, our hospitals are under more pressure from COVID than they have ever been since the start of the pandemic,” he said in a televised address

As of Tuesday, elementary and secondary schools and colleges will be closed for personal learning, with the exception of the children of key workers and vulnerable students.Students will not return until mid-February.People have been told to work from home unless they are impossible to leave home only for important trips

All non-essential shops and personal care services such as hairdressers will be closed, and restaurants will only be able to offer take-out services

On Monday there was 26626 COVID-19 patients in hospitals in England, an increase of more than 30% from a week ago That is 40% above the highest level of the first wave in spring

Much of England was already under severe restrictions when officials tried in the past few weeks to control an alarming surge in coronavirus cases attributed to a new variant of COVID-19 that is more contagious than existing variants since the first milestone in the December, the authorities have more than 50 a day000 new infections recorded 29 On Monday they reported 407 virus-related deaths, bringing the confirmed death toll to 75431 increase, one of the worst in Europe

The UKThe chief physician warned that, without further measures, “there is a considerable risk that the National Health Service will be overwhelmed in several areas in the next 21 days”

Hours earlier, Scotland’s leader Nicola Sturgeon had also imposed a lockdown there from Tuesday to the end of January with largely similar restrictions

“I am more concerned about the situation we are facing now than I have ever been since March last year,” said Sturgeon in Edinburgh

The announcements came on day UK Health officials began hugging the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine across the country, raising hopes that life could return to normal in the spring

“The coming weeks are going to be the toughest, but I really believe we’re entering the final phase of the fight,” said Johnson

The UK has secured the rights to 100 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which is cheaper and easier to use than some of its competitors. In particular, it does not require the super-cold storage required for the Pfizer vaccine

The new vaccine will be given in a small number of hospitals in the first few days so authorities can watch out for side effects, officials said hundreds of new vaccination sites – including local doctor’s offices – will open later this week, with more than 700 already operating the vaccination sites located

A “massive ramp-up operation” is now underway, Johnson said. The goal was to have around 13 million people in the priority groups by mid-February – nursing home residents, all over 70s, health and social workers on the front lines and those who are considered extreme are considered clinically at risk – be vaccinated said

Brian Pinker, an 82-year-old dialysis patient, received the first shot from Oxford-AstraZeneca

early Monday at Oxford University Hospital

“The nurses, doctors, and staff today have all been brilliant, and I can really look forward to my 48th later this year Celebrating wedding anniversary with my wife Shirley, “Pinker said in a statement from the National Health Service

Both vaccines require two vaccinations, and Pfizer had recommended giving the second dose within 21 days of the first, but the UKThe Joint Vaccination and Immunization Committee said authorities should give the first dose of vaccine to as many people as possible, rather than putting shots aside to make sure others get two doses, increasing the time between doses from 21 days to 12 weeks

While two doses are required to fully protect against COVID-19, both vaccines provide high levels of protection after the first dose, according to the committee, making the first dose a priority “maximizes the benefits of the vaccination program in the short term,” it said

Stephen Evans, a professor of pharmacoepidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said policymakers are forced to weigh the potential risks of this change against the benefits of a deadly pandemic

“As everyone realized in 2020, delays cost lives,” said Evans. “When resources are limited on doses and people to be vaccinated, vaccinating more people with potentially less efficacy has been shown to be better than more full efficacy in only half””

Monday’s urgent announcement was yet another change of course for Johnson, who had adhered to a regional alert system that put different restrictions on areas depending on the severity of local infections, London and large areas of south-east England were topped up in mid-December, and soon other regions were added

It quickly became clear, however, that the regional approach was not helping contain the spread of the virus, and critics called for a tougher national lockdown

And while schools in London were already closed due to high infection rates in the capital, Johnson had said students in many parts of the country could return to classrooms on the Monday after the Christmas break, to the horror of teachers’ unions

“We’re relieved that the government has finally bowed to the inevitable and agreed to move schools and colleges to distance learning in response to alarming COVID infection rates,” said Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders

Head nurse-nurse Sam Foster will hold on 1 A vial of Oxford University’s COVID-19 vaccine / AstraZeneca 4, 2021 (Steve Parsons / pool photo via AP)

82 year old Brian Pinker receives Oxford University / AstraZeneca COVID-19 COVID-19 vaccine from Nurse Sam Foster at Churchill Hospital in Oxford, England on January 4, 2021 (Steve Parsons / pool photo via AP)

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UK Lockdown, Boris Johnson

World News – CA – Boris Johnson orders new national coronavirus lockdown for England