AGI – To “crush wherever it appears” the new coronavirus which is returning to the office and threatens to overwhelm the British health services, the premier Boris Johnson announced the closure of pubs in Liverpool and the reactivation of three field hospitals set up in the spring. With over 42,800 deaths, unparalleled in Europe, and almost 618,000 positive cases, Great Britain is facing a new wave of infections that now affects the whole territory and all age groups.
“These numbers flash like warnings on the instruments on board an aircraft. We need to act now“Johnson told the British in the evening, saying he was determined to “crush the virus wherever it appears” with a simplified version and unified local restrictions imposed in recent weeks, which aim to avoid general lockdown.
The premier announced, first before the deputies and then before the nation, a new system of three-level alert – “medium”, “high” and “very high” – which should simplify the interpretation of the current restrictions for England only from Wednesday, as the other nations are competent to apply their own device.
The first level corresponds to measures valid for the whole of England: gatherings limited to six people and closing at 10pm for pubs and restaurants. At the “high” level, in areas currently subject to local restrictions, meetings between different families will be prohibited indoors. In regions with a “very high” level, additional measures will be applied with the support of local authorities, helped if necessary by the army. In the Liverpool region (nearly 1.5 million people), in the North West, an agreement was reached to close pubs, bars, gyms, betting centers and arcades.
“I know how difficult it is but we cannot leave the National Health Service when human lives are at stake,” said Johson in front of the deputies, faced with the discontent of a part of his party opposed to measures that are too restrictive, economically difficult to support.
“This is not how we want to live, but it is the narrow path that we have to trace between the socio-economic damage of a suit lockdown and the economic cost of an out-of-control epidemic, “he justified.
Meanwhile the health authorities they warned of the worrying situation in hospitals. The number of hospitalized patients with Covid-19 in England is now higher than when the lockdown was declared in late March. To help the health system, three of the large field hospitals set up in full emergency in spring, and suspended since then, have been instructed to “mobilize for the next few weeks to be ready to welcome patients if necessary”, announced the Medical Director of the Health Service for England, Stephen Powis.
However the new restrictions were met with hostility from local administrators in the north of England, who see the executive measures to support employment as insufficient and fear that their financial balance will be jeopardized. Worried about a “catastrophic” effect on nightlife by “unjust and unscientific” measures, the federation of bars and nightclubs Ntia has announced that it wants to challenge it in court.
In the press conference with Johnson, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, presented the aid plan to companies that will be penalized by the new restrictions. “The job support program will protect jobs regardless of whether the business is open or closed,” Sunak said. “If the business can open safely but with reduced or uncertain demand, the government will directly subsidize people’s wages to get them back to work on shorter hours rather than firing them,” he added. “Businesses forced to close will get two-thirds of the wages covered by the government,” he also announced. The plan will remain in effect for six months, until next spring.